Popular protests against President Ratsiraka in 1991 were crushed and troops fired at and killed demonstrators. After the Presidential election of December 2001 Ratsiraka claimed victory, but the opposition candidate Ravalomanana officially won 46 per cent of the vote and his supporters claimed that according to their electoral count he had won. Protests against the rigging of the election, including strikes by civil servants, lasted seven months. Ravalomanana began to choose a cabinet and set up a parallel government and his supporters effectively controlled the capital, Antananarivo, where he was mayor. This ‘soft revolution’ was primarily nonviolent, although violent clashes did result in a few deaths, and during the crisis commentators feared civil war (‘Vanilla Revolution’, The Economist, 7 March, 2002). This time, however, the army refused to back Ratsiraka, and mostly supported Ravalomanana when he eventually came to power in June 2002, now recognized internationally and with his electoral victory endorsed by a reconstituted Constitutional Court. Ratsiraka went into exile.