Both candidates in Madagascar’s presidential election have claimed victory in the fierce battle for power in the Indian Ocean island. Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana — who have each held the top job in the impoverished country before — declared themselves winners in the run-off which analysts warned was likely to draw claims of fraud. “Change is coming tomorrow, and today you can say that ‘Papa’ is elected,” Ravalomanana told supporters on Wednesday night at his headquarters, using his nickname. “Whatever happens, only one thing counts, we will win.” However, his rival Rajoelina said: “I am sure I’m going to win but we’ll wait for the official results.” The contenders, who came a close first and second in November’s first-round election, were both banned from running in the 2013 ballot as part of an agreement to end recurring crises that have rocked Madagascar since independence from France in 1960.
In the first round, Rajoelina won 39 percent compared with 35 percent for Ravalomanana. Both camps alleged they were victims of fraud and cheating.
The polls closed on Wednesday evening. The election count could be tense with the first significant results due only by next week.
The EU observer mission, which said turnout was around 50 percent, called for candidates and their supporters to wait patiently for the official results.
“It is not by mobilising in the street that they will win, so I ask them resolutely that they refrain from any gesture that could taint the smooth running of the election,” mission chief Cristian Preda said Wednesday.