People of Madagascar have begun casting their votes in the second round of Presidential elections on Wednesday to select their new head. The 2018 Madagascar Presidential election 2018 has pit two ex-presidents, Marc Ravalomanana, and Andry Rajoelina, against each other.
Rajoelina, 69, reportedly received 39 percent of votes in the first round of preliminary vote in November as against Ravalomanana, 44, who got 35 percent of the votes. Both the contender camps alleged they were victims of fraud and cheating. Outgoing president Hery Rajaonarimampianina got eliminated in the first round after receiving only 8.82 percent of the votes.
Ravalomanana remained the President of Madagascar from 2002 to 2009. However, he was forced to resign seven years later by violent demonstrations which were supported by Rajoelina, who was the mayor of the capital Antananarivo during that time. After the massive protests, Rajoelina was installed as the President by the army, and he ruled until 2014.
Notably, this is the first time that the two will face off each other in the elections since 2009’s political turmoil. They both were banned from running in the 2013 election as part of an agreement to avoid the reoccurrence of political violence that engulfed the island in 2009. Both have said they will accept the runoff’s results.
“I will work and do anything to make Madagascar a developed country,” Ravalomanana pledged while campaigning for the election in the candidates’ TV debate on Monday night, reported Channel News Asia.
Rajoelina used the debate to ensure the people of Madagascar that he would unite the country and vowing to respect the result.
“Let us agree that it is the choice of the Madagascan people who will lead the country,” Rajoelina said, adding he would “be the president of everyone, from north to south and from east to west.”
With ten million registered voters, Madagascar is ranked by the World Bank as one of the world’s poorest countries with 76 percent of people living in extreme poverty.
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