Hospitalized at the beginning of the week for an influenza, Didier Ratsiraka was president of the Indian Ocean island from 1975 to 1991 and then from 1997 to 2002.
Instigator of the “Malagasy socialist revolution” which would prove to be an economic and social failure, this anti-colonial activist, “comrade” of Fidel Castro, left as a legacy the “Malagasy” of education and of the names of cities.
Liberal transition then return to power
A protest movement between 1991 and 1992 forced him to leave power and accept the liberal transition demanded by his opponent at the time, Albert Zafy, who will succeed him as head of state. “The Red Admiral” will take power again in 1997 but he will be driven out once again after the next presidential election.
After a contested ballot, demonstrations and armed clashes erupted from December 2001 to July 2002 in the streets of the country, between supporters of Dider Ratsiraka and those of his new opponent, the mayor of Antananarivo, Marc Ravalomanana. The latter was finally declared the winner and Didier Ratsiraka forced into exile in France for nine years.
Sentenced and then annulled
In 2003, the deposed president was sentenced in absentia to ten years of hard labor for “embezzlement of public funds” and then to five years in prison for endangering state security. His sentences were, however, overturned in 2009.
For the past ten years, he has been present on the Malagasy political scene, regularly invited to television sets to deliver his analyzes.