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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.

All About America

AppleAndroid