When the international prices of the country's export
products fell in 1980, it triggered an economic crisis that
forced the government to take strict measures.
Dissatisfaction increased in a number of social sectors and
the government responded with repression and the arrest of
opposition people, while trying to make its foreign trade
more versatile, seek reconciliation with France and begin
negotiations with the IMF. Foreign debt reached $ 700
million this year.
In 1982, elections were held, and Ratsiraka was
re-elected with 80% of the vote, while the National Movement
for the Independence of Madagascar (MONIMA), led by Monja
Naoma, got the remaining 20%. According to
MONIMA advocated a radicalization of the country's socialist
In 1988, Raotoarijaona was replaced at the Prime
Minister's post by Lieutenant Colonel Victor Ramahatra. The
1989 election was won by the AREMA ruling party and
President Didier Ratsiraka was re-elected with 67.2% of the
vote. His program was reformist- oriented, he reintroduced
multi-party rule and in March 1990 recruited several of the
opposition leaders in his government as ministers.
In 1991, the opposition joined the Living Force Committee
(CFV), which consisted of 16 parties. After a series of
demonstrations and occupation of the national radio station,
the government declared the country in emergency. The
committee asked for Ratsiraka to resign and in July
appointed a transitional government.
After two transitional government ministers were
arrested, in August, 400,000 people went on the streets to
once again demand Ratsiraka's resignation. Authorities hit
hard at the demonstration: 31 were killed and 200 injured.
Guy Razanamasy was deployed as prime minister, resumed
dialogue with the opposition and appointed a "national unity
In March 1992, a multi-party forum was set up to draft a
new constitution, and it was decided that presidential
elections should be held in August. That same month, the
draft constitution was passed by a referendum and Albert
Zafy was elected president with 66.2% of the vote against
The country is one of the world's poorest and its
economic and social situation was considered disastrous. The
average income per per capita barely increased in the period
1976-92 - it increased from $ 200 to $ 230 annually in fixed
prices. At the same time, caloric intake decreased: from
108% of what was needed in 1964-66 to 95% in 1988-90.
In March 1994, the government implemented an economic
crisis package designed by the IMF, which further increased
social tensions. At the end of the year, mass demonstrations
were conducted against the implementation of the crisis
package. In January 1995, the Director of National Bank
resigned - at the request of the IMF and the World Bank.
In September, the people decided by a referendum to
increase Zafy's powers of power. The debate on the
structural adjustment program coincided with a dispute over
the use of the country's natural resources. This controversy
was triggered when the multinational mining company RTZ
proposed to make an open mine on the country's southern
coast, from which titanium oxide was to be extracted. The
project sparked strong protests from militant environmental
activists who were convinced that the project would destroy
unique species within the country's flora and fauna.
In May 1996, Parliament passed a distrust agenda against
the government, leading to the appointment of a new
government. The distrust agenda was among other things. a
consequence of comments by IMF Director Michel Camdessus
stating that the government's lack of coherence jeopardized
the agreements with the international loan organization.