Country of the World Madagascar

About the country Madagascar, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: The fourth-largest island in the world, Madagascar lies 250 mi. off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The dry, low-lying west coast rises from the Mozambique Channel to plateaus which extend to mountains and hills running nearly the entire length of the island. The peaks drop sharply to the narrow coastal plain of the east, which, unlike the arid western shore, is drenched in over 100 in. of rain each year.

Size: 226,657 sq. mi. (587,041 sq. km.), slightly smaller than Texas.

Population: 8.1 million.

Who Rules: A new constitution adopted in December, 1975, invests executive power in a president who is elected to seven-year terms. He also presides over a 12-man Supreme Revolutionary Council and is assisted by a Cabinet headed by a premier--all of whom serve at the president's pleasure. The constitution also scrapped the old Consultative Council and replaced it with a People's National Assembly composed of members of the National Front for the Defense of the Revolution, the only legal political party. Created, too, was the Military Development Committee to advise the legislature on military matters.

Who REALLY Rules: The military is in charge here. A member of the French community, Madagascar continues to rely on France as a ready market and a source of aid.

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