ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) — The main opposition candidate in Madagascar said Monday he has filed lawsuits with the country’s highest court seeking to have the results of this month’s national election canceled and incumbent President Andry Rajoelina’s victory declared invalid, claiming fraud.
Rajoelina, 49, was announced Saturday as the winner of the Nov. 16 election with 58.95% of the votes, giving him a third term as leader of the Indian Ocean island.
Rajoelina’s victory was announced by the national electoral commission but needs to be ratified within nine days by the High Constitutional Court.
The runup to the vote saw protests led by a coalition of opposition candidates and the burning of some ballot stations on the eve of election day. Ten of the 12 opposition candidates called for a boycott of the vote, although their names appeared on ballot papers.
Some Rajoelina supporters have claimed they were promised money to vote for him.
Main opposition candidate Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, who received the second highest number of votes behind Rajoelina with 14.4%, said he filed the appeals with the High Constitutional Court. He claims the electoral commission “modified” its figures.
Rajoelina, a former radio DJ and mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, first served as president of a transitional government in Madagascar from 2009-2014 following a coup. He was elected in 2019.
He was the only candidate to attend the ceremony announcing the results of the election and sat with 12 empty chairs set aside for the other candidates.
“With me, the Malagasy people have chosen the path of continuity, peace and stability,” Rajoelina said. “I thank the Malagasy people for having demonstrated political maturity and wisdom.”
The election was marked by low turnout, with 46% of people on the electoral register voting.
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