Madagascar votes on Wednesday in a high-stakes election with three ex-presidents the front-runners to lead the large Indian Ocean island rocked by tensions earlier this year. Attempts by the most recent president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, to change electoral laws backfired and sparked nearly three months of protests in the capital Antananarivo. The demonstrations forced Rajaonarimampianina to accept a “consensus” government tasked with organising the election in the poor country with a history of coups and civil unrest.
Nearly 10 million voters are eligible to select a president from a list of 36 candidates who include four former presidents, two ex-prime ministers, pastors and a popular rock singer.
Rajaonarimampianina is competing against two of his predecessors: Marc Ravalomanana, a milk mogul who ruled from 2002 to 2009 and Andry Rajoelina, a former party organiser nicknamed the disc jockey who succeeded him and was in power until 2013.