Madagascar President Drops Out of May Election

Posted January 15th, 2013 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina, who seized power in a coup in 2009, says he will not be a candidate in May's presidential election.

The president said in a televised speech Tuesday that he is sacrificing himself for the sake of the island's 20 million citizens.

Mr. Rajoelina joins the man he overthrew, Marc Ravalomanana, in heeding appeals from the European Union and other African leaders not to try to hold on to power.

Mr. Ravalomanana is in exile in South Africa. He has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison for the deaths of anti-government protesters at the hands of Madagascar troops.

Mr. Rajoelina, with the backing of the the army, toppled Mr. Ravalomanana in 2009, accusing him of autocratic rule. The coup led to international sanctions on Madagascar, a poor nation that relies heavily on foreign investment and tourist dollars.