Madagascar President Takes an Early Lead in Poll
Madagascar incumbent President Andry Rajoelina has taken a massive early lead in last Thursday’s election, boycotted by some parties, with votes from 37% of polling stations counted by Sunday evening.
President Rajoelina currently leads with 62.4%, trailed by Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko at 12.2% and ousted Ex-President Marc Ravalomanana at 11.2%.
In the polling stations tallied so far, Madagascar’s Electoral Commission said turnout was 43%.
Some opposition candidates who withdrew from the presidential contest have attributed the record low voter turnout to their calls to voters to boycott the election.
There were 11 million people out of a population of roughly 30 million registered to vote in this year’s polls, which were preceded by weeks of opposition-led protests.
Of 12 opposition candidates originally, only two took part in the vote. One was Marc Ravalomanana, the former president ousted in 2009, the other Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko.
“Enthusiasm was not there,” said Andriamanambe Raoto, editor-in-chief of Politika, a monthly publication.
The United States voiced concern on Thursday over low turnout, inadequate training for election staff and irregularities by party officials.
The opposition said participation was the lowest in Madagascar’s history and vowed to keep protesting.
Rajoelina says the constitution does not require the head of state to exclusively hold Malagasy nationality, and that any loss of nationality is subject to signed authorization by the government.
The opposition also called for changes to the makeup of electoral commission and for the formation of a special court to hear election disputes.
Regional observer groups did not respond to requests for comment on the early results. Full provisional results are expected on Nov. 24 while the High Constitutional Court is due to certify them on Nov. 30.