Madagascar heads to the polls on Wednesday in a crunch head-to-head election between two arch-rivals who have dominated political life on poverty-stricken Indian Ocean island for years. The showdown between Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina could revive instability in the country if a close result is rejected by the losing candidate, according to analysts. The two contenders will compete in the run-off election after coming first and second, far ahead of their competitors, in the preliminary vote in November. Ravalomanana and Rajoelina were both banned from running in the 2013 election as part of an agreement to end recurring crises that have rocked Madagascar since independence from France in 1960.
In the first round, Rajoelina, 44, took a slight advantage by winning 39.23% of the vote, compared with 35.35% for Ravalomanana, 69. Both camps alleged they were victims of fraud and cheating.
Ravalomanana was first elected as president in 2002 but was forced to resign seven years later by violent demonstrations supported by Rajoelina, the then mayor of the capital Antananarivo. Rajoelina was installed by the army and ruled until 2014.
Both candidates have spent lavishly on campaigning in a country that suffers dire poverty and they swept away their 34 other opponents in the first round.
Full Article: Madagascan ex-presidents face off in election clash | News24.