Madagascar is a constitutional democracy. In October and December 2013, the country held presidential and legislative elections for the first time since an illegitimate civilian regime headed by former de facto president Andry Rajoelina assumed power in a military-backed coup in 2009. Both presidential and legislative elections were peaceful and deemed generally free and fair by international observers.
The country inaugurated Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who won the presidency with 53 percent of the vote, in January 2014. The first session of the national assembly, which began in February 2014, officially ended the fiveyear political transition. The establishment of a democratic government was a critical milestone in ending the political crisis that had paralyzed the country since the 2009 coup and marked the culmination of a transitional process brokered by mediators acting on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Civilian authorities did not always maintain effective control over the security forces.
The most important human rights abuses included the inability of the government to provide rule of law, which resulted in security force abuse, including unlawful killings and mob violence; life-threatening prison conditions; and lack of judicial independence and judicial inefficiency, resulting in lengthy pretrial detention.
Other human rights problems included intimidation of journalists and restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, and assembly; official corruption and impunity; societal discrimination and violence against women; child abuse and child marriage; discrimination against persons with disabilities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community; trafficking in persons; and child labor, including forced child labor.
The government did not always prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government, and impunity remained a problem.
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