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African island state elects new national assembly

The vote comes more than six months after the president of Madagascar won a controversial third term

Madagascans voted in parliamentary elections on Wednesday, with the ruling Tanora Malagasy Vonona party expected to maintain its majority. It won 84 of 151 seats at the previous poll in 2019.

Polling stations in Africa’s largest island nation opened early and finished at 5pm local time, with about 11.6 million voters choosing members of the National Assembly.

More than 450 candidates were registered on the ballot and vying for seats, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

A political party must win at least 76 seats to gain a majority in parliament.

Observers from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) were monitoring the vote across 120 districts in the former French colony.

The election came several months after the country’s president, Andry Rajoelina, won a third term in November, in a poll boycotted by ten of 12 opposition candidates.

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A voter (L) signs the voter registration after casting her ballot at a polling station in Antananarivo, on November 16, 2023, during the first round of the Madagascar presidential election.
Madagascar ends voting after presidential elections boycott drama

Opponents had demanded that Rajoelina be disqualified from running because he acquired French nationality in 2014. They claimed the president should have lost his Malagasy nationality after being naturalized as a French citizen.

Rajoelina rejected the claims, arguing that the constitution does not require the head of state to be solely Malagasy and that any loss of citizenship requires signed authorization from the government.

The constitutional court dismissed appeals to have Rajoelina’s candidacy declared void over his dual citizenship in September, sparking anger from the opposition and violent protests for weeks in the lead up to the presidential election.

May 30, 2024 at 07:08PM

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