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Madagascar Holds Presidential Runoff Vote

Pedestrians pass a wall with election posters in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Nov. 6, 2018 on the eve of elections in the Indian Island nation.

Voters in Madagascar are casting their ballots in a presidential runoff election between two former presidents and bitter rivals.

Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana were the top two vote-getters in November's first round of voting, with Rajoelina receiving 39 percent and Ravalomanana winning 35 percent. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina finished well behind his predecessors in the November vote.

Ravalomanana was president of the Indian Ocean island nation from 2002 to 2009, until he was forced out of office in violent street protests led by Rajoelina, who was then serving as mayor of the capital, Antananarivo. Rajoelina was installed by the army and ruled until 2014.

Madagascar is renowned for its biodiversity, its vanilla crops, and its stunning beaches - but also for its crushing poverty, recurrence of bubonic plague, and frequent, devastating cyclones. The World Bank says more than two thirds of the former French colony's citizens live in extreme poverty.