Madagascar profile

A chronology of key events

1880s-1905 - France consolidates its hold over Madagascar in the face of local resistance.

Captives in Madagascar Pro-independence activists submit to French arrest during the 1947 rebellion

1910-20 - Growth of nationalism fuelled by discontent over French rule.

1946 - Madagascar becomes an Overseas Territory of France.

1947 - French suppress armed rebellion in east. Thousands are killed.

1958 - Madagascar votes for autonomy.

Independence

1960 26 June - Independence with Philibert Tsiranana as president.

Madagascar's first president Philibert Tsiranana Philibert Tsiranana, Madagascar's first president

1972 - Amid popular unrest, Tsiranana dissolves government and hands power to army chief Gen Gabriel Ramanantsoa as head of a provisional government. He reduces the country's ties with France in favour of links with the Soviet Union.

1975 June - Lieutenant-Commander Didier Ratsiraka is named head of state after a coup. The country is renamed the Democratic Republic of Madagascar and Ratsiraka is elected president for a seven-year term.

1976 - Ratsiraka nationalises large parts of the economy, forms the Arema party. Over the years he increases state control over the economy until 1986 when he changes tack and promotes a market economy.

1992 - Under pressure of demonstrations, Ratsiraka introduces democratic reforms. A new constitution is approved by referendum.

1993 - Albert Zafy elected president.

Didier Ratsiraka

Didier Ratsiraka

Mr Ratsiraka seized power as a young naval officer in 1975. He governed until 1991 and again from 1996 to 2002. He went into exile following disputed elections

1996 - Zafy impeached. Ratsiraka voted back into office.

2000 March - Thousands homeless after two cyclones hit the island and Mozambique.

2000 December - Arema wins in most of the cities, apart from Antananarivo, in provincial elections. The elections are for a new system of local government. Some 70% of voters stay away after the opposition called for a boycott, saying voters had not been properly informed about the reforms.

2001 February - An opposition parliamentary group, the Crisis Unit for the Defence of Democracy, is established following the jailing of MP Jean-Eugene Voninahitsy for insulting the president and cheque fraud.

2001 May - Senate reopens after 29 years, completing the government framework provided for in the 1992 constitution, which replaced the socialist revolutionary system. The new framework comprises the presidency, national assembly, senate and constitutional high court.

Election stand-off
Madagascan ex-president Ravalomanana Marc Ravalomanana was ousted and sentenced for ordering the killing of protesters

2001 December - First round of presidential elections. Opposition candidate Marc Ravalomanana claims an outright victory and says there's no need for a second round.

2002 January - Ravalomanana and his supporters mount a general strike and mass protests.

2002 February - Ravalomanana declares himself president after weeks of political deadlock with Ratsiraka over the December polls, which he says Ratsiraka rigged. Violence breaks out between rival protesters.

2002 April - High Constitutional Court declares Ravalomanana winner of the December polls after a recount. Ratsiraka says he'll ignore the verdict. In June the US recognises Ravalomanana as legitimate leader of Madagascar.

Ratsiraka in exile

2002 July - Ratsiraka seeks exile in France, marking end of seven-month political crisis.

2002 December - Ravalomanana's party, I Love Madagascar (TIM), wins a parliamentary majority in elections which are seen as a test of popular support.

2003 February - Former head of the armed forces is charged over an attempted coup against President Ravalomanana.

2003 August - Exiled former president Didier Ratsiraka is sentenced in his absence to 10 years hard labour. He is accused of embezzling public funds.

Deforestation in Madagascar Deforestation poses a serious threat to local people and the environment

2003 December - Former PM Tantely Andrianarivo is sentenced to 12 years hard labour for abuse of office.

2004 February/March - Tropical cyclones Elita and Gafilo hit; thousands are left homeless.

2004 October - World Bank, International Monetary Fund say they're writing off nearly half of Madagascar's debt - around $2bn.

2005 March - Madagascar is the first state to receive development aid from the US under a scheme to reward nations considered by Washington to be promoting democracy and market reforms.

2006 May - The main opposition parties boycott talks with President Ravalomanana which were intended to ease political tensions ahead of December's presidential elections.

Ravalomanana re-elected

2006 December - Officials declare Marc Ravalomanana, the incumbent, the winner of presidential elections.

2007 April - Voters in a referendum endorse constitutional reforms to increase presidential powers and make English an official language.

2007 July - President Ravalomanana dissolves parliament after new constitution calls for end to autonomy of provinces.

2007 September - President Ravalomanana's I Love Madagascar (TIM) party wins 106 seats out of 127 in early parliamentary elections.

2007 November - President Ravalomanana opens 3.3 billion dollar nickel cobalt mining project in Tamatave. Mine said to be largest of its kind in the world.

2008 Feb-March - Cyclone Ivan, second of the season and one of the largest to hit the island kills 93 and leaves 332,391 homeless. UN launches flash appeal for $36.4 million to help cyclone-hit areas in the country.

2008 March - Madagascar produces first barrels of crude oil in 60 years and at a time of record oil prices. The government has issued 19 licenses to search for offshore oil since last August.

Unrest
Demonstrators scatter in the face of gunfire in Madagascar Dozens of people were killed in anti-government demonstrations in 2009

2009 January - Dozens are killed as a result of violent protests in Antananarivo following the closure of opposition TV and radio stations. Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina calls on the president to resign, and proclaims himself in charge of the country following the riots.

2009 February - Dozens of people are killed after police open fire on an opposition demonstration in the capital, amid ongoing political turmoil.

2009 March - Andry Rajoelina assumes power with military and high court backing. Move is condemned internationally and isolates Madagascar.

2009 June - Deposed President Ravalomanana - who has been living in exile in South Africa since March - is tried in absentia for abuse of office and sentenced to four years in prison.

Deal

2009 August - International mediators broker power-sharing agreement between the rival camps at talks in Mozambique. Deal fails to materialise and Mr Rajoelina later formally abandons it.

2010 March - African Union imposes targeted sanctions on Mr Rajoelina and his administration.

2010 May - Mr Rajoelina sets a timetable for a constitutional referendum and elections. The timetable later slips.

2010 June - EU decides to suspend development aid to Madagascar in the absence of democratic progress.

2010 August - Exiled former president Marc Ravalomanana is sentenced in absentia to life in prison for ordering killings of opposition supporters.

2010 November - Voters in referendum endorse new constitution that would allow de facto leader Andry Rajoelina to run for president.

New deal

2011 September - Eight political parties sign agreement intended to pave the way for elections to be held within a year to re-establish democracy.

The deal leaves Mr Rajoelina in charge of a transitional authority until elections scheduled for March 2012. It also allows for the return of exiled former president Marc Ravalomanana.

2011 November - New unity government is unveiled. Opposition parties agree to join new government "with reservations".

Former President Didier Ratsiraka returns to Madagascar after nine years in exile.

2012 January - Ousted president Marc Ravalomanana tries to return from exile but his plane is turned back.

2012 May - Coup leader Andry Rajoelina says he hopes elections can take place ''as soon as possible''.

2012 July - The army puts down a mutiny at a military barracks near the main airport.

2012 September - Three journalists are given refuge in the South African embassy after they complain of harassment.

2012 September-November - Amnesty international calls on government to rein in security forces accused of killing dozens of people in a crack-down on cattle rustling in the south.

2013 January - Interim president Andry Rajoelina and with ex-president Marc Ravalomanana agree not to contest elections in the summer, falling in line with a plan by mediators from SADC, the regional bloc.

2013 May - Andry Rajoelina announces he will stand for the presidency in the next elections, after Mr Ravalomanana's wife Lalao says she will be a candidate. Mr Rajoelina says Mrs Ravalomanana's move broke the joint agreement not to contest the poll.

2014 January - Hery Rajaonarimampianina sworn in as president after elections.

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