Madagascar court backs Rajoelina vote win, rejects fraud claims

Madagascar's constitutional court on Friday backed Andry Rajoelina's victory in a presidential election.

Madagascar’s constitutional court on Friday backed Andry Rajoelina’s victory in a presidential election, rejecting opposition complaints of fraud.

The court said Rajoelina secured 59 percent of the vote on November 16, winning a second straight term without the need for a run-off.

Turnout was barely 46 percent of the electorate, the court confirmed, as it validated the electoral commission results.

Eleven opposition candidates have already said they will not recognise the results, alleging the election was “riddled with irregularities”. Ten boycotted the vote in protest.

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Political tensions have been running high in the country for months.

Two Madagascar army colonels were charged this week with inciting a mutiny before the election.

Army chief William Michel Andriamasimanana  later said the military was committed to respecting the election’s result.

Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, who maintained his candidacy, filed a legal challenge after the vote, seeking to cancel it. He alleged vote buying and irregularities in the counting.

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But the court rejected the appeal and even cancelled some of his votes.

Rajoelina, 49, made no immediate comment after the court decision but is now clear to start a new term.

After being declared winner by the electoral commission, he said “the Malagasy people have chosen the path of continuity, serenity and stability.”

Elections in Madagascar have rarely been held without a dispute.

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The latest crisis erupted in June, when media reports revealed that Rajoelina had acquired French nationality, triggering calls for him to be disqualified from running for president.

Before the vote, opposition candidates held almost daily protests in the capital, Antananarivo.

Rajoelina first took power in 2009 on the back of a coup.

After not running in the 2013 election due to international pressure, he won an election in 2018.

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He has since held the reins in a country that remains among the poorest in the world despite vast natural resources.

Some 80 percent of the 28 million population live on less than $2 a day.

– By: © Agence France-Presse

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