The Basket Fund starts at more than 9 billion ariary

The European Union, France and Germany formalize their contribution to the Basket Fund for the organization of elections, in particular, the presidential one. A sum of 2 million euros has been announced so far.

A strong political signal. This is how the ambassadors of the delegation of the European Union (EU), France and Germany present the declaration of intent made yesterday at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). This is a declaration of intent for their participation in financing the organization of the next elections in Madagascar, starting with the presidential one. This, through the “Basket Fund”, opened by the United Nations and managed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). According to Natasha Van Rijn, resident representative of the UNDP, this public announcement is made a week after the meeting of the steering committee of a program entitled “Strengthening of the electoral and democratic process in Madagascar”. According to what was announced yesterday, the stake then starts at 2 million euros. Taking into account the variation of the exchange rate, this sum corresponds to more than 9 billion ariary. The European Union and France will pay one million euros respectively. As for Germany, its ambassador, Michael Häusler, indicates that he intends to plead in favor of Great Britain so that it is one of the countries benefiting from the “Africa electoral fund”.

This German fund of 3 million euros will be made available to the UNDP to support the financing of elections in Africa. As Michael Häusler points out, there will be five elections on the continent this year. At first glance, there is still no certainty about the amount that Madagascar will get. On the side of the EU and France, it is not yet a disbursement, either. At first glance, the contributions announced yesterday seem marginal. A point already mentioned by Isabelle Delattre Burger, EU ambassador, during a press conference in Ankorondrano on May 8. The diplomats present in Alarobia yesterday, however, are counting on the idea of ​​a “collective contribution”, in order to encourage Madagascar’s other partners to put their hands in their pockets.

far from account

“We hope to create momentum for other partners of Madagascar, who are present here, who are involved in supporting democracy to come forward quickly,” said the EU ambassador. This is the meaning of the political signal underlined by the three diplomats yesterday. “The other aspect of today’s approach is a mobilization approach”, adds Arnaud Guillois, Ambassador of France. “We encourage a policy which will allow free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections, in a peaceful climate and which contributes to the development and stability of Madagascar”, notes, for his part, Ambassador Michael Häusler. After a period of procrastination and uncertainty, the international partners are visibly reassured about the holding of the elections, especially the presidential elections this year. The guarantees affirmed by the CENI and the State probably convinced them. “Now we are waiting for the officialization of the electoral calendar”, slips Isabelle Delattre Burger, in the middle of her speech. In addition to a confirmation of the political commitment of the State, this formalization will also offer a breath of financial air to the preparations for the votes. According to the explanations of Retaf Arsene Dama Andrianarisedo, president of the CENI, the publication of the decree of convocation of the voters, is the key which will allow the Commission to mobilize the budget intended for the organization of the poll, in the finance law. The calendar proposed by the CENI foresees that the first round of the presidential election will be held on November 9.

Four months before the meeting, however, there are still uncertainties. According to President Dama, the amount that will be available to the CENI once the voters are summoned to the polls is 40 billion ariary. Added to this are the 2 million euros firmly announced yesterday, ie more than 9 billion ariary. The budget is still far from the mark, even if the CENI has already largely revised downwards the 143 billion ariary that it initially planned. “This sum was evaluated on the basis of the idea that the whole process for the presidential election is supported by the state’s own funds”, is the lighting provided by the boss of the Electoral Commission. After having ruled out the activities supported by international partners, or even the equipment already acquired, the CENI reduced its forecast to 80 billion ariary. The government, meanwhile, is counting on a provisional amount of 70 billion ariary for the organization of the presidential election. “In the event of a gap, there is the advance decree procedure, as assured by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy and Finance. There is also the support of our partners through the Basket Fund”, reassures the number one of the CENI. This common fund will cover, in particular, the purchase of sensitive printed matter, including single bulletins. Only, it is also intended to finance the legislative and communal elections to come.

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