December 20, 2018 / 9:34 AM / 6 months ago

Both candidates in Madagascar presidential run-off claim victory

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Both candidates competing to become Madagascar’s next president claimed victory after an election runoff, even though only a small percentage of the results have yet been declared.

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows former Madagascar's Marc Ravalomanana on February 17, 2011 and former Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina on December 18, 2013 respectively. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings and REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photos

Two former presidents contested Wednesday’s second round - Marc Ravalomanana and the man who ousted him in a 2009 coup, Andry Rajoelina - and the nation is hoping for a peaceful outcome with no repeat of the political chaos of almost a decade ago.

Madagascar’s electoral body said results from 5 percent of all polling stations showed Rajoelina, whose candidate number on the voting list was 13, leading with 57 percent.

Rajoelina and Ravalomanana - whose nickname is “Papa” - promised to put the past behind them when they entered the race, and both said they would accept the result as they cast their ballots in the capital, Antananarivo.

Nevertheless they pre-empted the final results on Wednesday night, although they also promised to await the official outcome.

“We have seen the results. Even if they are not official they are part of the results: Papa wins,” Ravalomanana told supporters.

That drew a response from Rajoelina. “My competitor said he has won but the fact is that number 13 has won in the whole of Madagascar,” said Rajoelina, who led protests that forced Ravalomanana out of office before going on to become president.

Soldiers who were deployed across the island to ensure security during the polls were still seen on the streets.

In the first-round election last month, Rajoelina got 39.23 percent and Ravalomanana 35.35 percent of the vote. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who has been president since Rajoelina stepped down in 2014, came a distant third.

Provisional results in the run-off are expected before the end of the year.

Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; Writing by Clement Uwiringiyimana; editing by David Stamp

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