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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 2010
Last Amended not amended
Source Prime Minister’s Office (Madagascar)
Translation Unofficial translation by ARDA staff from French and Malagasy source
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

[ARDA Note: Most of the articles shown below were translated from a French-language source. However, some of the source text is given in the Malagasy language; ARDA staff used A New Malagasy-English Dictionary to translate this text.]


The sovereign Malagasy people,
Affirming its belief in the God the creator (Andriamanitra Andriananahary),
Determined to promote and develop its societal heritage of living in harmony and respect for difference and for the richness and vitality of its cultural and spiritual values through “fahany maha-olona” [translated: “essential personhood”],
Convinced of the need for the Malagasy society to retain its originality, authenticity and Malagasy essence, as well as to join the modernity of the millennium while retaining core values and principles based on traditional Malagasy being that include “ny fitiavana, ny fihavanana, ny fifanajana ny fitandroana ny aina” [translated: “kindness, rightness, mutual respect, “responsibility and strength”], and emphasizes a way of life of “living together” without regard to region of origin, ethnicity, religion, political opinion or sex,

Article 1

The Malagasy people constitute a sovereign, unitary, republican and secular nation.

Article 2

The State affirms its neutrality toward different religions.
The secularity of the Republic is based on the principle of the separation of the affairs of the State from religious institutions and their representatives.
The State and religious institutions shall refrain from any interference in their respective domains.
No head of an institution or member of Government can be part of the governing bodies of a religious institution under pain of being required to resign his office or function.

Article 6

The law is an expression of general will. It is the same for all; it protects, obliges and punishes.
All individuals have equal rights and enjoy the same freedoms protected by law without discrimination based on sex, level of education, wealth, origin, religious belief or opinion.
The law favors equal access and participation by women and men in public office and in the functions of the fields of economic and social life.

Article 10

The freedoms of opinion and expression, communication, press, association, movement, conscience and religion shall be guaranteed to all and may be limited by respect for the freedoms and rights of others and by the imperative of safeguarding public order, national dignity and the security of the state.

Article 14

Everyone has the right to free association provided that he complies with the law.
This same right is recognized for the creation of political parties. The conditions of their creation and determined by a law on political parties and their financing.
Associations and political parties that challenge the unity of the nation and republican principles, and advocate totalitarianism or ethnic, tribal or religious segregation are prohibited.

Article 28

No one shall be discriminated against in their work or employment due to sex, age, religion, opinions, origin, membership in a trade union or political beliefs.

Article 48

The official handover of power is between the incumbent and new elected President.
Before taking office, the President of the Republic, in solemn audience of the High Constitutional Court, before the nation and in the presence of the Government, the National Assembly, Senate and Supreme Court, takes the following oath:
“Here in the presence of God the Creator and the people of the nation…”
[ARDA Note: Only the first section of the oath of office, which contains reference to God, is translated here from the original Malagasy.]

Article 49

The office of President of the Republic is incompatible with any other elective public office, occupation, activity within a party, political group or association, and exercise of any function within a religious institution.
Any violation of this section, as found by the High Constitutional Court, shall be grounds for impeaching the President of the Republic.

Article 64

The office of member of Government is incompatible with any other elective public office, any office of professional reputation, exercise of any function within a religious institution, any public employment or any other gainful employment.
Any member of the Government or candidate for elective office must resign these functions as soon as his candidacy is declared admissible.


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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