A Hard Pill

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Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina won Madagascar’s presidential election this month, a vote that was marked by low turnout, boycotting, and street protests from the opposition, Al Jazeera reported.

The country’s election body (CENI) announced Saturday that Rajoelina had secured a third term in office after winning nearly 59 percent of the vote.

Even so, other candidates decried the outcome, saying that the vote was marred by irregularities, such as intimidation of polling officials and use of public resources by the governing party. Voter turnout was 46.4 percent, which the opposition called the lowest one in Madagascar’s history.

Opposition lawmaker Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko – who came in second with more than 14 percent of the vote – filed two requests to the country’s highest court to cancel the election result and disqualify Rajoelina.

Thirteen candidates initially campaigned before the election, but only three participated in the Nov. 16 poll.

The other 10 opposition contenders – known as “le Collectif des 10” – urged voters not to participate in the polls and launched a series of demonstrations. The boycott came after CENI refused their request to postpone the vote so that the state could appoint independent officials to the electoral body.

The opposition also alleged that Rajoelina should not participate in the race because he acquired French nationality in 2014 – which they say automatically revokes his Malagasy one – and had created unfair election conditions.

It is now up to the constitutional court to confirm the final results within nine days of CENI’s announcement of the provisional results.

Rajoelina first came to power following a 2009 coup. Subsequently, he resigned after nearly five years as the head of a transitional authority, only to reclaim the presidency by winning the 2018 election.

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