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Madagascar: voters demand compensation after disputed election

An electoral official holds up a ballot paper as votes are counted at a polling station in Antananarivo, on November 16, 2023.   -  
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Dozens of supporters of Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina queued to collect their party cards on Tuesday, believing it entitled them to cash days after a presidential election boycotted by most opposition candidates.

"If the President was here in front of me, I'd like to tell him that he made a promise to provide for our needs in return for our support, because we've always been behind the President. So we are now asking for the sum of 350,000 Ariary (around 70 euros, ed.) to provide for our family, because we are very poor," said Emilienne Razafindramanga, recycling waste collector. 

Just like this party supporter, many in what is one of the world's poorest countries have lined up outside the President's party offices in Antananarivo, since the beginning of the week, seeking a pay-out.

"I'm poor, but I receive help, so I wanted to thank the President. He also made promises to us before the election. Today, I'm here to get my card as an active member, so I can get the money he promised me. I was told that it was 350,000 Ariary (some 70 euros, ed)," added Raveloson Razafindratoandro, Retiree.

As tensions rise and more voters demand money for their loyalty, Rajoelina's party, TGV, denies allegations it has promised money in exchange for votes and reminds voters that solely donations were promised.

"This card proves that you are a member of the TGV political party. And when donations are distributed, the people to be favoured are those who have this card. But we have never made any promises that we are going to distribute money," clarified Rakotondrabe Josélito, head of the TGV party in the rural commune of Ambohimangakely. 

Rajoelina, 49, is leading the presidential race, with a preliminary tally giving him more than 60 percent of the vote -- a share that would secure him re-election without a run-off, according to the electoral commission.

Final results for the election should be announced later this week.

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