Profile: Andry Rajoelina

Former DJ has been a thorn in the side of the president for more than 12 months.

    Rajoelina is nicknamed TGV, after the French high speed train [AFP]

    Andry Rajoelina, a successful businessman and one-time DJ, has made it his political mission to take on Marc Ravalomanana, Madagascar's president, who he accuses of behaving like a dictator.

    At just 34 years old, he is too young to stand for the presidency as the law requires candidates to be 40. But he has declared himself head of his own rival government as he tries to push Ravalomanana from power.

    He is regarded by some as a maverick and his quick-fire personality has seen him nicknamed TGV, after the French high speed train.

    The moniker stuck and Rajoelina turned the initials into his movement's name: Tanora Gasy Vonona, or Young Dynamic Madagascan. 

    In December 2007, he entered politics, running as a candidate in municipal elections that saw him become mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, after trouncing Ravalomanana's party with 63 per cent of the vote.

    Over the next 12 months, Rajoelina's relations with the government worsened leading them to shut down his television network after it broadcast an interview with Didier Ratsiraka, a former president.

    Ratsiraka, who ruled Madagascar for 25 years, lives in exile in France after a drawn-out and violent political tussle with Ravalomanana over the result of presidential elections in 2001.

    Rajoelina accused the government of stifling free speech and has since become increasingly critical of Ravalomanana.

    He has repeatedly condemned what he says are shrinking freedoms on the Indian Ocean island and also fiercely criticised a massive project to lease vast swathes of farmland to South Korean industrial giant Daewoo.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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