Madagascar’s incumbent President, Rajoelina, in early lead as polls witness heavy boycotts by opposition


ANTANANARIVO – Madagascar’s incumbent President, Andry Rajoelina, has taken a massive early lead in last Thursday’s election, boycotted by some parties, with votes from 37 percent of polling stations counted by Sunday evening.

Rajoelina currently leads with 62.4 percent, trailed by Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko at 12.2 percent and ousted ex-president Marc Ravalomanana at 11.2 percent.

In the polling stations tallied so far, Madagascar’s electoral commission said turnout was 43 percent, reported the BBC.

Some opposition candidates who withdrew from the presidential contest had attributed the record low voter turnout to their calls to voters to boycott the election.

“The elections did not respect the required democratic standards and this was proven by the participation rate, which was the lowest in Madagascar’s electoral history,” opposition politician Hajo Andrianainarivelo said after Thursday’s vote.

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The run-up to the poll was marred by chaos, with 10 of the 12 opposition presidential candidates boycotting the poll, after failing to block Rajoelina from running over his joint French citizenship.

They denounced Rajoelina’s bid for a third term and also raised concerns about the poll’s credibility.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, there were demonstrations and clashes with police. A curfew was also imposed in the capital, Antananarivo, on the eve of the poll.

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