Madagascar's President Hery Rajaonarimampianina attends the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Reuters

Former Madagascan president Hery Rajaonarimampianina on Thursday alleged that “many voting irregularities” pointed to fraud in this week’s election, heightening fears of a disputed result as counting continued.

Early counting from a small number of polling stations put Rajaonarimampianina in a distant third place behind leading contenders Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana, both also former presidents of the Indian Ocean island.

“Many voting irregularities and technical anomalies have been detected including an invalid electoral register… intimidation (and) the presence of pre-ticked ballots,” said Rajaonarimampianina, who ruled from 2014 to September 2018.

“All indications are that the votes of the Madagascan people have been stolen,” he added in a statement issued the day after the vote.

“We will not let the people be robbed of their vote,” he warned.

With only 291 of the 24,852 polling stations counted by Thursday afternoon, Rajaonarimampianina had obtained 3.29 percent of the votes counted so far.

Rajoelina had 45.07 percent and Marc Ravalomanana was on 40.3 percent, according to official figures.

Thirty-six candidates ran in the election, which is considered an acid test of the democratic credentials of the impoverished island that has a history of coups and instability.

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