- Title: Malagasy voters vent frustrations over economy ahead of polls
- Date: 5th November 2018
- Summary: MARKET SCENES MARKET VENDOR ARRANGING CARROTS GRAINS ON SALE ONIONS ON SALE VARIOUS OF WOMEN SEATED OUTSIDE TEXTILE FACTORY IN HOPES OF GETTING JOBS (SOUNDBITE) (Malagasy) CLEMENCE HOLIGA, YOUNG UNEMPLOYED, SAYING: "I had to stop going to school and look for work because my parents could not afford my school fees." (SOUNDBITE) (Malagasy) JOSEPH RODOLPHE SOLO, BUILDER, SAYING: "With every new president, life has become more and more difficult, and that is why I am going to vote, in the hopes that we will have a good president but someone with a vision for the youth." ATSINANANA, MADAGASCAR (RECENT) (REUTERS) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, ANDRY RAJOELINA, DRIVING THROUGH CHEERING SUPPORTERS RAJOELINA'S HANDS FORMING A V SIGN WITH HIS FINGERS, AND BOARD SHOWING PRICE OF PETROL IN BACKGROUND ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR (OCTOBER 20, 2018) (REUTERS) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, MARC RAVALOMANANA, DRIVING THROUGH CHEERING SUPPORTERS SUPPORTERS WALKING AND CARRYING POSTERS OF RAVALOMANANA
- Embargoed: 19th November 2018 15:43
- Keywords: Upcoming elections in Madagascar economy first time voters youth tackling unemployment
- Location: ANTANANARIVO AND ATSINANANA, MADAGASCAR
- City: ANTANANARIVO AND ATSINANANA, MADAGASCAR
- Country: Madagascar
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003958AZ4N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: No matter who wins Madagascar's presidential election next week, Joseph Rodolphe Solo wants the victor to bring jobs to a country shackled by poverty despite its immense resource wealth.
Madagascar is one of Africa's poorest countries, and ironically, the result of the first round of voting could hinge in part on which of the three front-runners - all wealthy men - has spent the most money campaigning for the Nov. 7 contest.
20-years-old Solo does odd jobs in construction and works as a cook in the evenings for extra income.
"I come here every morning, and, in the evening, I go to my other jobs, because I don't earn money as a builder. The cost of living is constantly increasing," he said.
Like many other young Malagasies, he says he wants a leader who "can change the lives of young people" by creating jobs.
In the run-up to the poll, the three leading candidates have toured the country making ambitious electoral promises. They are President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and his two main challengers, Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, who are both former heads of state.
Handing out sacks of rice and t-shirts, the top candidates have hired helicopters to side-step the problem of rundown roads across the country, famed for its exotic wildlife and luxury vanilla spice.
Though relative political stability since a 2013 election has enabled the economy to rebound, most people in the country of 25 million people live below the poverty line.
Unemployment is under two percent, official statistics show, but a 2015 government study found that "disguised unemployment" was at least 20 percent and underemployment was rampant.
Eighteen-year-old Clemence Holiga is desperate for work. She has been coming to the Pilatex textile factory for the last few months, sitting outside in the hopes of getting a job.
"I had to stop going to school and look for work because my parents could not afford my school fees," she said.
The winner will need to quickly deliver tangible results.
"With every new president, life has become more and more difficult, and that is why I am going to vote, in the hopes that we will have a good president but someone with a vision for the youth," added Solo.
There will be 34 other candidates on the long ballot paper. But few are seen having the influence or cash to take on the three established figures and capitalise on discontent over an economy that has still not fully recovered from the chaos.
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