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Gabriel Ramanantsoa - 1972-1975

Madagascar's first President, Philibert Tsiranana, was elected when his Social Democratic Party gained power at independence in 1960 and was re-elected without opposition in March 1972. However, he resigned only 2 months later in response to massive anti-government demonstrations. The unrest continued, and Tsiranana's successor, Gen. Gabriel Ramanantsoa, resigned on February 5, 1975, handing over executive power to Lt. Col. Richard Ratsimandrava, who was assassinated 6 days later.

Born April 13, 1906 and died on 9 May 1979, Ramanantsoa was a member of the Merina ethnic group, and came from a wealthy family. Former Chief of General Staff of the armed forces, officially became Head of State and Head of Government of Madagascar.

Assistant to Chief Officer Ecole Mil. Prbparatoire des Enfants de Troupe 1932. Assigned to Colonial Infantry Regiment of Morocco, French Army 1931, 1935-1936. Rank of Captain 1940. Returned to Madagascar, organized Ecole Superieure d’Education Physique, Fianarantsoa 1941, 1943-1946. Department, of Colonial Troops, Ministry of Defence, Paris 1946, 1953-1959. In charge of War Veterans, Mil. Office of French High Commission, Madagascar 1948-1953. Served with French Army in Viet-Nam 1953. On June 26, 1960 he ended his military career in the French army, joined the Malagasy army at the time of the independence of Madagascar after completing his military studies at the military School of Saint-Cyr. From June 26 from 1960 to 1972 he was Chief of General Staff.

On 18 May 1972, after massive political and social protests directed against President Philibert TSIRANANA, the latter entrusted full powers to RAMANANTSOA who becomes prime minister. In October 1972, a national referendum overwhelmingly approved Ramanantsoa’s plan to rule without parliament for five years; Tsiranana, who opposed the plan, resigned the presidency shortly after the vote. On October 8, 1972, TSIRANANA remained chairman title but increasingly challenged, he was finally dismissed after the referendum confirming full powers to RAMANANTSOA which officially became the second head of state of the Malagasy Republic on October 11.

Ramanantsoa freed political prisoners jailed by Tsiranana, began to reduce French influence in the country, broke off relations with South Africa, and generally followed a moderately leftist course. The Ramanantsoa military regime could not resolve rising economic and ethnic problems. On December 31, 1974, the armed forces launched an unsuccessful coup attempt. The fact that the coup was led by several côtier officers against a Merina military leader underscored the growing Merina/côtier polarization in the military. Continued political and economic instability doomed the Ramanantsoa regime. Tired of tensions that divided up his government, he resigned in a heavy political, ethnic and social context.

Gabriel Ramanantsoa, former President of Madagascar, died in a military hospital in Paris 10 May 1979, the Government announced. He was 73. The cause of death was not reported, but the announcement said he had been flown to Paris a week ago for treatment.

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Page last modified: 14-10-2016 19:40:19 ZULU