Opposition protests Malagasy elections

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afrol News, 9 January - The opposition took to the streets in Madagascar, protesting the official results of the 16 December presidential elections. Opposition candidate Marc Ravalomanana should be recognised as the winner, they claim.

According to provisional results published last week, Ravalomanana had gained 46.6 percent of the votes, while incumbent Didier Ratsiraka noted a score of 40.4 percent. This would imply a second poll round for these two candidates. Ravalomanana and his followers however claim the numbers have been rigged by the government and that he won the first round with 53 percent.

On Saturday, more than 10,000 supporters of Ravalomanana took to the streets of the Malagasy capital, Antananarivo. The protesters demanded Ravalomanana be proclaimed the winner of the elections. Demonstrations have gone on continually since then.

On Monday, the protesting crowd of Antananarivo already had reached 80,000. According to reports from Madagascar, one child was killed and other injured in clashes between police and Ravalomanana's supporters. 

Demonstrators were further fuelled today by the information from a group of local election observers, claiming had Ravalomanana won the poll by securing 50.5 percent of the vote. According to a report by the French news agency AFP, André Rasolo, head of the "observers consortium" involved in the vote count, said that on the basis of results from 75 percent of polling stations, Ravalomanana had won 50.5 percent of the vote, compared with 37.7 percent won by incumbent president Didier Ratsiraka.

Rasolo said results from the other 25 percent of polling stations had been either lost or destroyed, but that his group considered the 75 percent it had counted to be representative of the national average. "We are stopping there, and we conclude that victory lies with Marc Ravalomanana," Rasolo told AFP. 

Reacting to the new information an estimated 120,000 people, backed by poll observers, today gathered in Antananarivo to press their claim that Ravalomanana won the election. The poll observers backed Ravalomanana's demand the High Constitutional Court should review the "anomalies" in the organisation of the election.

- We will see this through and we will win, Ravalomanana told protesters in an appeal yesterday. "We have only one demand in the current conflict: that the truth of what was in the ballot boxes is respected."

Sources: Press reports and afrol archives 

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