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Rajoelina candidate leads Madagascar vote

31 December 2013, 08:49

Antananarivo - The candidate supported by Madagascar strongman Andry Rajoelina held a decisive lead in the island's run-off presidential poll on Monday with ballots from nearly all voting stations in, results showed.

Hery Rajaonarimampianina, aged 55, had won 53% of the vote after more than 96% of 20 001 voting stations had been tallied, according to figures on the electoral commission's website which are still to be validated.

His rival Robinson Jean Louis, aged 61, the candidate of former leader Marc Ravalomanana who was ousted by Rajoelina in a 2009 coup, was trailing by 6.6%.

A total of 19 291 polling stations have been counted so far.

Both candidates had already declared themselves the winner, claiming vote rigging.

The polls are aimed at pulling the Indian Ocean island out of a political and economic crisis brought on by Rajoelina's army-backed overthrow of Ravalomanana.

Barred from running in the polls amid fears of a return to violence, the two main political players backed proxy candidates who went head-to-head on 20 December after an inconclusive first round in October.

Jean Louis, who has demanded a freeze on the release of results, was set to present evidence of fraud later on Monday.

Despite the mud-slinging that followed the polls, international observers gave the vote the green light and called on the parties to respect the electoral process.

Only half of the island's 7.9 million eligible voters cast their ballot.



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