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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid