Madagascar presidential candidates both claim election victory

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:49am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:49am


Madagascar's presidential candidates both claimed victory yesterday in run-off polls, each accusing the other of rigging the run-off as results started to trickle in.

Former health minister Robinson Jean Louis, candidate of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, said he expected to win 56 per cent of the vote, while his opponent Hery Rajaonarimampianina claimed to have taken between 60 and 65 per cent.

"There has been massive fraud," Jean Louis said, adding that "an entire airplane" filled with ballots pre-marked in favour of his rival had been discovered.

His campaign held an early victory party on Friday night.

Meanwhile, the camp of Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister under strongman Andry Rajoelina, denied any wrongdoing.

"From our side we haven't rigged the vote, but actually they did. We have proof," his spokeswoman Rinah Rakotomanga said.

The election commission, security forces and international observers have not confirmed incidents of fraud after hailing generally peaceful polls, though with little turnout.

"There are a lot of rumours, but these were elections to exit a crisis and there will always be rumours," the UN representative for Madagascar, Fatma Samoura, said. Observer missions will release their main conclusions today.

Madagascans voted on Friday in parliamentary and run-off presidential polls to return the island to democracy after Rajoelina seized power in an army-backed coup from Ravalomanana in 2009.

The two foes were barred from running for the presidency.


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