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Madagascar elections court removes candidates from ballot

The special electoral court of Madagascar [JURIST news archive] on Saturday announced that it has removed President Andry Rajoelina [BBC profile], former president Didier Ratsiraka [campaign website, in French] and Lalao Ravalomanana [campaign website, in French], the wife of former president Marc Ravalomanana [BBC profile], from the country's list of presidential candidates. Lalao Ravalomanana, who has not lived permanently in the country since 2002, and Ratsiraka were removed [Reuters report] by the court for not meeting the physical residency requirements for candidacy of living in the country for six months. Rajoelina was removed from the list of candidates for not filing for candidacy during the statutory period. The court also removed five other candidates from the list of presidential candidates. The court has three days to file replacement candidates for the presidential election, which is scheduled for August 23.

Madagascar's elections follow a tumultuous period for the country. Last August South African prosecutors told reporters that they were investigating former president Ravalomanana [JURIST reporter] for possible crimes against humanity. In April 2012 Madagascar passed [JURIST report] a law granting amnesty to those who committed crimes during the political unrest in the country over the last three years, but excluded human rights violations for which former Marc Ravalomanana was convicted. In November 2010 voters in Madagascar approved [JURIST report] a new constitution that lowered the minimum age requirement for presidential candidates.

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