Madagascar’s parliament has voted overwhelmingly to dismiss President Hery Rajaonarimampianina for alleged constitutional violations and general incompetence.
The Indian Ocean island’s constitutional court will now decide whether the decision on Tuesday night to discharge Rajaonarimampianina can be enacted.
The US embassy had pledged support for the president and called on parliament to put the stability of the country first, but the plea fell on deaf ears.
The motion was backed by 121 of the 125 lawmakers who voted, easily clearing the two-thirds majority required.
The parliamentary speaker, Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, said after the votes were counted: “It is officially declared that everyone accepts that the request of dismissal can be submitted to the constitutional court”.
The result was greeted with applause from many lawmakers, but some alleged the vote had been ridden with irregularities.
One who refused to take part, Lydia Raharimalala, claimed there had only been only around 70 lawmakers in parliament when they were called to vote.
“There’s something wrong, there was cheating,” she said, and promised to take her claims to the constitutional court.
When Rajaonarimampianina took power in January 2014 – after the first democratic elections since 2006 – it was hoped Madagascar would finally emerge from a deep political and economic crisis.
The island had been plunged into a state of crisis in 2009 when Rajaonarimampianina’s predecessor Marc Ravalomanana was ousted in a coup.
Rajaonarimampianina, a trained accountant, promised a better life for the inhabitants of one of the world’s poorest countries.
But his opponents say he has failed to deliver on his economic promises and accuse him of stalling on the establishment of a high court and the implementation of promised reforms.