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Marc Ravalomanana Africa Madagascar Elections Andry Rajoelina

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Election commission confirms Rajoelina as Madagascar president

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Andry Rajoelina was president between 2009 and 2014. REUTERS/Clarel Faniry Rasoanaivo

Andry Rajoelina returned to power in Madagascar on Thursday after he beat his rival and predecessor Marc Ravalomanana in a presidential election beset by allegations of fraud.


The country's electoral commission said Rajoelina won 55.66 percent of the vote in the run-off vote held last week. Ravalomanana claimed 44.34 percent.

The defeated candidate, immediately lodged an appeal against the election.

Anisoa Tseheno Rabenja, Ravalomanana's campaign director, said he and his boss filed papers with the constitutional court - the country's top court - a few hours after the electoral commission's announcement.

"We have filed several petitions ... which concern anomalies and flaws at the level of the Ceni (the electoral commission) during this election," Rabenja said.

The court has nine days to formally name the new president after it has reviewed the petitions.

"The electoral commission facilitated the fraud committed by candidate 13, Andry Rajoelina," Rabenja added.

Unity

Rajoelina called for unity and a democratic transfer of power as he thanked those who voted for him and those who did not.

"I already came first in the first round and the people of Madagascar have confirmed my victory in this second round," he said. "What matters is that the people of Madagascar were able to express themselves freely."

Rajoelina, who was president between 2009 and 2014, added: "My message is simple, the people of Madagascar no longer need a crisis, they need a wise, unifying leader."

Hery Rakotomanana, the Ceni chief, said efforts were made to respond to concerns raised by both candidates, which included a review of the counting software.

The two-round election was plagued by mutual accusations of vote-rigging in a country with a long history of instability. European Union election observers have said they had not seen evidence of wrongdoing.

Just under half of the eligible 10 million voters went to the polls in the second round run-off.

Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who was president between 2014 and 2018, was eliminated in the first round.