Rajoelina candidate leads Madagascar presidential vote - The New Indian Express

Rajoelina candidate leads Madagascar presidential vote

Published: 30th December 2013 08:02 PM

Last Updated: 30th December 2013 08:02 PM

The candidate supported by Madagascar strongman Andry Rajoelina held a seemingly unassailable lead in the island's run-off presidential poll today, with ballots from nearly all voting stations in.

Hery Rajaonarimampianina had won more than 53 per cent of the vote after ballots from more than 96 per cent of polling stations had been tallied.

According to figures on the electoral commission's website, which are still to be validated, his rival Robinson Jean Louis, 61, who is backed by ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana, was trailing by 6.6 per cent.

The polls are meant to pull the Indian Ocean island out of a political and economic crisis brought on by Rajoelina's army-backed power seizure in 2009.

The final results are still to be announced, but both candidates declared themselves the winner and claimed vote rigging shortly after the December 20 run-off.

"We find that the atmosphere is generally positive but there are also cases where the candidates are not happy with the results that are being published," said regionally appointed mediator Leonardo Simao.

But the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediator called on candidates to allow the proper electoral bodies to rule on allegations of fraud.

Jean Louis failed in a bid to freeze the release of partial results while ballots were inspected.Today he prepared to present evidence directly to the public in a special two-hour live broadcast on two private television channels.

"This show tonight will focus on the fraud," said Jean Louis' assistant Lova Rajaoarinelina.

"We want to prove that the election happened to be quiet, but not transparent, there was massive fraud."

Despite the mud-slinging, international observers gave the vote the green light and called on the parties to respect the electoral process.

The island's two main political players -- Rajoelina and Ravalomanana -- had been barred from running in the polls amid fears of a return to violence. They instead backed proxy candidates who went head-to-head on December 20 after an inconclusive first round in October.

Only half of the island's 7.9 million eligible voters cast their ballot. A total of 19,291 out of 20,001 polling stations had been counted so far.

Rajaonarimampianina, 55, is an astute businessman and former finance minister under Rajoelina, while Jean Louis is a doctor and former health minister under Ravalomanana.

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