It's been a tough four years for Madagascar: first a coup, and then a precipitous economic decline. They've even been struck by the Black Plague, that most medieval of epidemics. Yet there's light at the end of the tunnel.
A long-delayed election finally happened this week, and it went pretty well. South Africa's diplomats, so influential in getting the country to this point, are cautiously optimistic.
In southern Africa these days, free and fair elections are not hard to come by. An encouraging sign of democratic development, perhaps; or a troubling indictment of the Southern African Development Community's increasingly low standards (there was nothing wrong with the Zimbabwe polls, remember?). Either way, to the list of recent 'credible' elections in the region we can now add the example of Madagascar.
Four years after the coup that ousted President Marc Ravalomanana, sending him into comfortable if frustrating exile in Sandton, citizens of Africa's largest island voted for a new president on Saturday - with neither Ravalomanana nor coup leader Andriy Rajoelina on the ballot.
The elections were a long time coming, with both leaders proving reluctant to negotiate or compromise. Neither was above deliberate provocation, either. Despite their...