Madagascar court confirms Rajoelina’s win as president

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) — Former Madagascar president Andry Rajoelina won the presidential election, the high constitutional court confirmed on Tuesday, rejecting all complaints filed over the results.

The court said Rajoelina received more than 55 percent of the vote in the Indian Ocean island nation’s runoff election last month, while another former president, Marc Ravalomanana, received more than 44 percent.

Both candidates were present in court for the announcement, and supporters of Rajoelina cried out in joy. The announcement followed the electoral commission’s release of the provisional results late last month.

Ravalomanana had denounced the runoff results, alleging massive fraud on election day and during vote-counting. He filed more than 200 petitions and complaints with the court, and his supporters held protests in recent days in Antananarivo, the capital.

But Ravalomanana shook hands with Rajoelina in court, and Rajoelina later told supporters that his rival had congratulated him.

The 44-year-old Rajoelina, who was president from 2009 to 2014 during a transitional government, had campaigned on his youth while the 69-year-old Ravalomanana, who led from 2002 to 2009, had pointed to his experience. Ravalomanana had to quit the presidency in 2009 after a series of military-backed challenges supported by Rajoelina, who was mayor of Antananarivo at the time.

Just over 48 percent of the country’s 10 million registered voters cast their ballots in the Dec. 19 runoff.

Campaigning had been largely peaceful in this former French colony, which the World Bank ranks as one of the world’s poorest nations, though rich in ecological diversity. More than two-thirds of the island’s 25 million people live in extreme poverty, while corruption is said to be widespread.

“I feel the poverty in every home in Madagascar,” Rajoelina told supporters after his win. “I will work hard for development to come to every home.”

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