'''Didier Ratsiraka''' (born [[4 Novambra]], []) was the [[List of Presidents of Madagascar|President]] of [[Madagascar]] from [] until [] and from [] until []. Ratsiraka served as [[foreign minister]] under [[Gabriel Ramanantsoa]] from 1972 until 1975. Ratsiraka, known as the "Red Admiral", came to power in a [[military coup]] and in 1976 he began to set up a [[socialist]] government, founding the political party Vangard of the Malagasy Revolution (FNDR). In 1989 he changed his party's name to the Arema (Andry sy Riana Enti-Manavotra an'i Madagasikara) (Pillar and Structure for the Salvation of Madagascar). His autocratic rule ended in 1993 when he lost elections to [[Albert Zafy]]. Zafy was impeached in 1996, and Ratsiraka achieved a political comeback in early 1997 when he won presidential elections, running as the candidate of the AREMA party, defeating Zafy and Prime Minister/Acting President [[Norbert Ratsirahonana]].
By 2001, however, Ratsiraka had become widely unpopular again. He was defeated in elections that year by [[Marc Ravalomanana]] 48%-44%. A runoff was to take place, but disputes over the election caused it to be canceled. Both Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana claimed to have won over 50% of the vote. Both were sworn in on February 22, 2002, and the two governments fought for control of the country. By the end of February 2002, Ravalomanana had complete control over the capital, which had always been his base, but Ratsiraka maintained control over most of the provinces. However, within a few months Ravalomanana had gained the upper hand in a struggle, and after losing control of most of the provinces Ratsiraka fled the country on [[July 5]], [].