Independence Leads to Ratsiraka's Repressive Regime
An autonomous republic within the French
Community since 1958, Madagascar became an independent member of the
community in 1960. In May 1973, an army coup led by Maj. Gen. Gabriel
Ramanantsoa ousted Philibert Tsiranana, president since 1959. Cdr.
Didier Ratsiraka, named president on June 15, 1975, announced that he
would follow a socialist course and, after nationalizing banks and
insurance companies, declared all mineral resources nationalized.
Repression and censorship characterized his regime. Ratsiraka was
reelected in 1989 in a suspicious election that led to riots as well as
the formation of a multiparty system in 1990. In 1991, Ratsiraka agreed to
share power with the democratically minded opposition leader, Albert Zafy,
who then overwhelmingly won the presidential elections in Feb. 1993. But
Zafy was impeached by Parliament for abusing his constitutional powers
during an economic crisis and lost the 1996 presidential election to
Ratsiraka, who again became president in Feb. 1997.
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