Presidential elections are held in Madagascar

13 candidates including incumbent Andry Rajoelina vying for top post

On Thursday, voters headed to polls for a presidential elections in Madagascar.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. local time (03:00 GMT) and will close at 5 p.m. for 11 million registered voters, according to the election commission.

Thirteen candidates are vying for the post, including incumbent Andry Rajoelina, who is seeking a second term.

Soava Andriamarotafika, the spokesperson for the electoral commission, said provisional results would be released on November 24.

The second round of election will be conducted on Dec. 20 if none of the candidates receives 50% of the vote.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union, and the European Union have deployed its election observers.

The campaigns were overshadowed by a series of protests called by opposition aspirants quelled with tear gas.

A coalition of 10 out of 12 opposition candidates, including former presidents Hery Rajaonarimampianina and Marc Ravalomanana, have called on voters to boycott the election over transparency concerns.

Rajoelina held his last campaign rally in the capital Antananarivo on Sunday before thousands of enthusiastic supporters.

There had been speculation Rajoelina’s candidature could be rejected surrounding his dual French-Malagasy nationality. He won the last vote in December 2018, beating Ravalomanana in the second round said to have been marred by irregularities.​​​​​​​

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