Madagascar is an island covered in a mostly mountainous plateau. The eastern side of the island has a narrow coastal strip, and the western has broad fertile valleys. Most of the country suffers from severe erosion - millions of tons of soil are washed into the sea each year, and deforestation has stripped much of the natural habitats of many rare plants and animals. The country is home to about 19 million people; its capital city is Antananarivo, home to 1.5 million people. Madagascar is frequently hit by cyclones, most notably the three in 2000, 2003, and 2004. Madagascar was forced into becoming a French colony in 1986 and set up plantations where Malagasy were slaves. The country gained independence in 1960 from France, and about 500,000 were freed from slavery. The education system is still run in French. Didier Ratsiraka came to power through military power in 1975, and he then established a new constitution allowing for only one political organization. Ratsiraka aimed to nationalize the banks and transform the social development of Madagascar. In 1990 he allowed more political groups, which led to the formation of the Forces vives (FV) led by Albert Zafy, who won the elections in 1993 who led a chaotic presidency and was impeached in 1996 for his abuse of power and corruption. Ratsiraka returned to power. In 2001 Mar Ravalomanana, former mayor of Antananarivo and member of the Tiako-I-Madagasikara (TIM) party, won the election; but only after they forced a recount and Ratsiraka was exiled. Ravalomanana was re-elected in 2006 but overthrown by a coup in 2009 led by Andry Rajoelina. A new constitution was approved in 2010, and in 2013, Hery Rajaonarimampianina was elected president, continuing his control in the 2014 election even though an attempt at impeachment in 2015.