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Vote counting underway in Madagascar presidential election run-off

Vote counting underway in Madagascar presidential election run-off

Madagascar

Polls close, vote counting underway

Vote counting is underway in Madagascar, following the second round of the presidential election.

Both candidates in the race, Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina have been urged to accept the outcome of the poll, and work towards a peaceful transition of power.

“I am sure they will be able to calm their supporters (…), the country does not deserve further unrest,” the prime minister, Christian Ntsay said after polls closed.

Ravalomanana accused his rival of preparing to rig the vote, citing distribution of fake voter and identity cards, during the presidential debate on Sunday.

Rajoelina’s camp on Wednesday complained about ‘numerous manipulations, acts of corruption and attempted vote-rigging by supporters of candidate 25’.

Voting opens

Voting in the second round of the Madagascar presidential election began early on Wednesday, as ex-presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina hope to emerge winner.

In November, the two former presidents, Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, got 35.35 percent and 39.23 percent respectively, and face off in the close run-off.

Madagascar is hoping for a second peaceful election since upheaval in 2009, when Ravalomanana was forced out of office by protests led by Rajoelina in what the African Union and other international organisations said was a coup.

“I hope that the next president of the republic will bring the development for the country, bring security and allow the children’s education,” said 21-year old student Haja Hasina after voting.

Madagascar presidential election run-off: Ravolamanana vs Rajoelina (profiles)

Rajoelina pledges to accept poll result

Rajoelina cast his ballot in the capital, Antananarivo, and said he would accept the result.

“Even if it is a rainy season, the sun is shining today. I hope the sun shall shine on Madagascar,” Rajoelina said after voting.

“In case of vote rigging, it won’t be from our side, I am a democrat and if I lose I will accept the decision.”

Soldiers were deployed across the island to ensure security during the polls, said the minister of defence.

“Nearly 20,000 elements of the defence and security forces are deployed throughout the country, 900 in the capital to ensure the security of the election,” said the minister, General. Beni Xavier Rasolofonirina.

“I call on the Malagasy to defend their choice, not to let the two candidates and their supporters do the job, come and vote and then assist and monitor the counting of votes.”

The former president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, had been hoping for a second term in the November vote but came a distant third and was eliminated.

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