Madagascar Presidential Poll: Rajoelina, Ravalomanana Leading
With 63 per cent of votes counted, the two expresidents respectively have 39 per cent and 37 per cent.
Results of Madagascar’s first round presidential vote on November 7, 2018 contested by 36 candidates show that two of the four former Presidents in the race have taken an early lead, well ahead of 34 others, Radio France International, RFI, reported on November 14, 2018. As at November 13, 2018 evening, and with 63 per cent of votes counted, Andry Rajoelina was keeping a slight lead of 39 per cent over Marc Ravalomanana at 37 per cent.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, CENI, outgoing President Hery Rajaonarimampianina was a distant third at just under 8 per cent of valid votes cast. However, observers were quick to caution that anything can happen between now and November 20, 2018 when the Higher Constitutional Court is expected to release official results. In the event of no outright winner, a round-off election will be held on December 19, 2018. The three top contenders - Andry Rajoelina, Marc Ravalomanana and Hery Rajaonarimampianina - have all picked holes with CENI’s conduct of the vote. Each of them has claimed results different from those released by CENI.
Meanwhile, the European Union observer mission to the election in its preliminary report on November 9, 2018 accused Hery Rajaonarimampianina and Andry Rajoelina of vote buying during campaigning, mentioning the amounts offered by each of them. Rajoelina’s campaign team on November 12, 2018 denied the allegations. The following day, Rajoelina demanded that EU’s Ambassador to Madagascar publish a formal rebuttal of the claims. “The irregularities were very minor and won't have any impact on the election's outcome,” said the head of the European Union's monitoring mission, Cristian Preda.
He said two cases of ballot stuffing were reported out of nearly 25,000 polling stations nationwide. “What we are describing are difficulties and anomalies, which is to say logistical issues that wouldn't have af fected the credibility of the elections,” Preda said at a media briefing in the capital, Antananarivo. Madagascar has struggled to overcome political divisions after a disputed 2001 election that sparked clashes and a 2009 military-backed coup.
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