December 24, 2018 / 6:58 AM / 3 months ago

Madagascar's Rajoelina leads election runoff, Ravalomanana alleges fraud

ANTANANARIVO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Madagascar presidential candidate Andry Rajoelina is leading an election runoff after nearly 90 percent of the votes were declared, the electoral commission said on Sunday, drawing allegations of fraud from rival Marc Ravalomanana.

Rajoelina had 55.06 percent of the vote compared to 44.94 percent for Ravalomanana, the commission said after tallying results from 21,473 of 24,852 polling stations.

The two ex-presidents - Ravalomanana and the man who ousted him in a 2009 coup, Rajoelina - had previously said they would accept the results, raising hopes of a peaceful outcome and no repeat of the political chaos nearly a decade ago.

However, Ravalomanana said on Sunday the electoral body should investigate the election.

“Fraud and violence have prevailed and this has an impact on the results. The results of this election are not credible and the election is not transparent,” he said in statement broadcast on Sunday.

“It is true that I said that I will respect the results if the rules are respected. Unfortunately, it is not the case,” he said, calling on his supporters “whose rights have been violated, to stand up and defend their choices.”

There was no immediate comment from the electoral commission which has scheduled a press conference for Monday.

In the first round last month, Rajoelina received 39.23 percent of the vote compared to Ravalomanana’s 35.35 percent.

Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who became president after Rajoelina stepped down in 2014, came a distant third. (Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; Writing by Clement Uwiringiyimana; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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