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Voting Underway For Madagascar's Constitution Referendum


A resident of the Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, casts her vote at a local polling station, 17 Nov 2010

A resident of the Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, casts her vote at a local polling station, 17 Nov 2010

Voting is underway in Madagascar on a new constitution that could extend President Andry Rajoelina's rule.

The island nation's government is promoting the vote as a step toward stability following the 2009 coup that ousted Marc Ravalomanana and led to Mr. Rajoelina's installation.

The new constitution would lower the minimum age for a presidential candidate from 40 to 35, paving the way for Mr. Rajoelina, who is 36, to run for office.

It would also require presidential candidates to live in the country for at least six months prior to elections, blocking Mr. Ravalomanana, who is exiled in South Africa.

The document does not set a limit on the duration of Mr. Rajoelina's transitional government.

Madagascar's three main opposition factions have called for a boycott of the vote.

Critics say the referendum will not yield a lasting solution to the country's political crisis.

Madagascar has been in political turmoil since the March 2009 coup.

The African Union has refused to recognize Mr. Rajoelina as president.

Some information for this report was provided by AP Reuters.

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