Home | News | Ex-president Rajoelina closes in on Madagascar election win: partial results

Ex-president Rajoelina closes in on Madagascar election win: partial results

Rajoelina, now 44, was installed by the army and ruled until 2014.  By GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (AFP/File)

Rajoelina, now 44, was installed by the army and ruled until 2014. By GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (AFP/File)

Former Madagascan president Andry Rajoelina was set to return to power as partial election results on Saturday gave him a clear lead over his rival Marc Ravalomanana with more than half the votes counted.

With over 3 million ballots counted out of about 5 million cast, Rajoelina had won 55.1 percent against 44.8 percent for Ravalomanana after Wednesday's head-to-head election, according to the electoral commission.

Complete results are expected next week, before a period in which they can be legally challenged.

The two-round election was beset by allegations of fraud from both sides and the result may be contested -- raising the risk of a new political crisis in the Indian Ocean island which has a history of coups and unrest.

But EU election observers said Friday they had not seen evidence of malpractice.

"The Madagascans voted in a peaceful atmosphere in a transparent and well-organised poll," mission head Cristian Preda told reporters.

"Even before the first round, the candidates talked about massive fraud. We did not see it in the field... I hope that calm will come once the results are very clear."

In the same vein, the African Union (AU) congratulated the "two candidates, the entire political class and the Madagascan people who, despite the differences, ... have shown restraint."

Rajoelina and Ravalomanana, both former presidents and long-time rivals, have been locked in a fiercely personal duel for power after they came a close first and second in the preliminary election in November.

"I have noticed massive fraud. There are electoral cards that are fake," Ravalomanana told AFP on Thursday at his campaign headquarters in the capital Antananarivo.

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