President Hery Rajaonarimampianina of Madagascar officially confirmed Friday he would seek re-election in November, setting the stage for a showdown with his arch-rival, opposition leader and ex-president Andry Rajoelina.
The Indian Ocean island, a former French colony with a population of 25 million, has been beset by political instability for decades and suffers widespread poverty.
In June, mounting protests forced President Rajaonarimampianina to accept the formation of a “consensus” government tasked with organising a fresh poll.
“So here it is, five years ago I came to you and now, today, I come to you again,” said Rajaonarimampianina at a media briefing in a hotel in the capital Antananarivo.
Rajaonarimampianina had been widely expected to throw his hat into the ring for a second term, the maximum permitted by the constitution.
Rajoelina announced on August 1 his candidacy for the presidential election, in a bid to succeed Rajaonarimampianina.
Rajaonarimampianina, elected in 2013, came to power after Rajoelina, who was never elected, was legally barred from standing in the presidential vote that year.
“I am persuaded to do even more than I have already accomplished for you, my dear compatriots,” added Rajaonarimampianina.
Also on the ballot paper will be opposition leader Marc Ravalomanana, 44-year-old Rajoelina’s predecessor as civilian head of state.
Thirteen applications to stand for the presidency have been received by the country’s Constitutional Court. Nominations will close on August 21.
The election is scheduled to take place on November 7 with a second round on December 19.