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Madagascar to Hold Runoff Vote in December

A man walks past campaign posters outside a polling center in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Oct. 25, 2013.
Madagascar's presidential election will go to a runoff vote, after no candidate received an outright majority in the first round.

The electoral commission said Friday that the two top candidates, Jean Louis Robinson and Hery Rajaonarimampianina, will compete in the runoff December 20.

The vote will be a contest between the candidates backed by Madagascar's main political rivals - former president Marc Ravalomanana and the man who ousted him, Andry Rajoelina.

Although the first round of voting last month was peaceful, analysts have warned of the potential for partisan clashes, and the U.S. embassy has repeatedly urged Americans to avoid election-related rallies and protests.

The election aims to end a four-year political impasse in Madagascar, dating from when Mr. Rajoelina seized power with the military's help in 2009.

The resulting cutoff in foreign aid plunged the country into an economic crisis that has increased already-high levels of poverty.

Ravalomanana's candidate, Robinson, received the highest number of votes in the first round with 21 percent. Rajoelina's ally won about 16 percent. The rest of the votes were split among 31 other candidates.