News / Africa

European, African Observers say Madagascar Election Credible

Members of the European Union Election Observation Mission in Madagascar, Peggy Corlin (L), Philippe Boulland (2nd L), Maria Muniz de Urquiza (2nd R), and Sandrine Espinoza, speak to journalists during a press conference concerning election results in Ant
Members of the European Union Election Observation Mission in Madagascar, Peggy Corlin (L), Philippe Boulland (2nd L), Maria Muniz de Urquiza (2nd R), and Sandrine Espinoza, speak to journalists during a press conference concerning election results in Ant
Reuters
— Madagascar's first presidential election since a military-backed coup was free and fair, European Union (EU) and Southern African observers said on Sunday, as early results trickled out two days after the poll.
 
The announcements were a boost for the Indian Ocean island which needs a credible vote to rebuild investors' confidence and win back aid suspended after dissident troops propelled Andry Rajoelina into power in 2009.
 
But foreign envoys warned there was still time for an upset. Full results cold take as long as a week to emerge and the two front-runners both anticipate a second-round runoff, prolonging the uncertainty.
 
“This election has been free, transparent and credible,” the head of the EU observer mission, Maria Muniz de Urquiza, said.
 
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which suspended Madagascar as a member after Rajoelina's power grab, said the vote had “reflected the will of Malagasy people”.
 
By midday, the electoral commission (CENIT) had released results from just 1,019 of the 20,001 voting stations dotted across the world's fourth largest island that is famed for its lemurs and eyed by foreign firms for its oil, nickel, cobalt.
 
Diplomats watch army
 
Two of the most fancied candidates maintained their early leads. Jean Louis Robinson - backed by the president deposed in 2009, Marc Ravalomanana - is holding steady with about 27 percent of the vote.
 
His nearest rival, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister under Rajoelina, is polling consistently at just under 16 percent.
 
Friday's vote was peaceful, but the EU observer mission said the lack of a cap on campaign spending had led to “flagrant inequalities” between candidates. It also noted that a “not negligible percentage” of voters were left off the voter list.
 
These shortcomings had not prevented the vote running smoothly, said de Urquiza.
 
Diplomats said they were watching the military, parts of which they say remain opposed to Ravalomanana's return from exile - a scenario widely expected if Robinson wins the vote.
 
“We've made a big step forward but all the options are open,” said one European diplomat, who asked not to be named.
 
Many Malagasy voters said they were frustrated by the delays and flaws in the process.
 
“I don't know whether it was deliberate or incompetent,” said 25-year-old Henintsoa Ramanana who was barred from voting when electoral officials said he was not registered. “In any case, its truly shocking to be deprived of the right to vote.”

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid