Despite severe political instability and many political crises since independence, Madagascar has experienced peace for nearly four decades. Unlike the dominant research on causes of armed conflict, this article focuses on the causes of peace. It introduces a new concept—domestic capabilities for peaceful conflict management—to identify factors related to conflict fault lines, civil–military relations and a culture of constructive conflict management, that facilitate the prevalence of peace. The domestic capabilities for peaceful conflict management perspective draws attention away from preventive diplomacy and external intervention and places the focus on internal capabilities for peace. On this basis, the article also analyses the severe crisis in 2009 and how it was handled.