Lily’s Leaders: Andry Rajoelina

By Lily Boisson

If Andry Rajoelina’s parents ever told him he was too young to do something, he probably didn’t listen. The 34 year-old took over as president of Madegascar last week, but according to the country’s constitution, he is still six years too young to run for the presidency.

The young politician is a former DJ-turned-businessman who made it big in the advertising industry.

Rajoelina entered the political arena just two years ago when he ran for mayor of Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo.

He used his communication skills and networks to get a head start in the polls.

A dynamic campaign featuring trendy t-shirts and high-energy music helped him capture 63 per cent of the vote.

His quick rise to power has earned Rajoelina the nickname “TGV”, after the French high-speed trains.

Once in office as mayor, Rajoelina quickly set himself against the government. He called president Marc Ravalomanana a dictator and characterized himself as the opposition.

Many youths, already disillusioned with the government, rallied behind Rajoelina.

Ravalomanana attempted to quash Rajoelina’s political ambitions by forcing him out of office, but the plan quickly backfired.

Last month, Rajoelina’s supporters protested in the capital city for days while the young politician called for Ravalomanana’s resignation.

Last week, Ravalomanana lost the military’s support and stepped down as president. Popular Rajoelina quickly stepped into his shoes, but the international community has decided he’s a pretender not a contender.

The United Nation has condemned what it calls a military coup.

The African Union has suspended the participation of Madagascar in the union. (An inconvenience for the AU as Madagascar was set to host the union’s next summit meeting.)

Finally, the Southern African Development Community is considering imposing trade sanctions on the country.

Violent protests, looting and military takeovers have caused 100 deaths in Madagascar since January

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