"Political tensions on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar between President Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, the former mayor of the capital city, escalated in early 2009, culminating in the President's forced removal from office. In preceding weeks, over 135 people had been killed in riots and demonstrations. Under intensifying pressure from mutinous soldiers and large crowds of protestors, Ravalomanana handed power to the military on March 17, 2009. The military then transferred authority to Rajoelina, who has declared a transitional government. Days prior to President Ravalomanana's resignation, the U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar had expressed concern that the country could face civil war; some believe the unrest may continue. The political uncertainty has strained relations between international donors and Madagascar, which was the first country to sign a U.S. Millennium Challenge Account compact, worth an estimated $110 million. Following coups in Mauritania and Guinea in 2008, the African Union, the United States, and the European Union, among others, warned against an unconstitutional transfer of power on the island nation and have threatened possible sanctions and a suspension of foreign aid. The African Union has suspended Madagascar from the regional body until constitutional order is restored."
CRS Report for Congress, R40448