Madagascar profileOutgoing president of the High Transitional Authority: Andry Rajoelina
Andry Rajoelina toppled president Marc Ravalomanana with the army's backing in March 2009.
The coup left the country in political limbo, as Mr Rajoelina failed to muster the domestic and foreign backing necessary to set up an internationally recognised transitional government.
Over the next few years, several international attempts were made to broker an agreement between Mr Rajoelina and his opponents. Several election dates were mooted and subsequently postponed.
At a referendum held in November 2010, voters approved a new constitution that lowers the minimum age for the president, allowing Mr Rajoelina, 36 years old at the time, to run for the presidency.
- Presidential elections were held on 25 October
- Run-off due on 20 December
- Intended to end four-year political deadlock after current leader Andry Rajoelina seized power in 2009
- Robinson Jean Louis (left) is the candidate for ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana
- Hery Rajaonarimampianina (right) is backed by Rajoelina
In September 2011, at a further round of talks held with the aim of establishing a roadmap for returning the island to democracy, eight political parties agreed on a plan that leaves Mr Rajoelina in charge of a transitional authority until elections in July 2013.
In November 2011, a unity government was formed with the reluctant cooperation of Madagascar's two main opposition groups.
Mr Rajoelina initially agreed with ex-president Ravalomanana not to stand for the presidency in 2013, but changed his mind after the former president's wife announced she would contest the election.
This raises questions about whether the election will be recognised internationally, as the exclusion of all the major players in the 2009 crisis was a condition of the South African Development Community's sponsorship of the transition back to constitutional rule.
Born into a well-off family, Mr Rajoelina rose to prominence as a disc jockey, going on to own a radio station and advertising company. He set up the Determined Malagasy Youth opposition movement and was elected mayor of Antananarivo in December 2007.
His predecessor, Mark Ravalomanana, a self-made dairy tycoon, came to power in 2002. He used huge street demonstrations sparked by a disputed elections and military force to defeat Marxist President Didier Ratsiraka, who had ruled Madagascar for 23 years.
Mr Ravalomanana's first term saw free-market reforms which were welcomed by donors and investors. Aid increased and foreign debt was cancelled, but poverty remained endemic and protesters took to the streets over rising prices.