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Loser in disputed Madagascar vote appeals to Africa states

Source: Reuters - Tue, 14 Jan 2014 06:54 PM
Author: Reuters
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By Alain Iloniaina

ANTANANARIVO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The defeated candidate in Madagascar's disputed presidential election appealed to African states to investigate alleged fraud in last month's vote, the first since a coup plunged the island into crisis five years ago, an aide said on Tuesday.

The aide to Jean Louis Robinson said he would outline "irregularities" to representatives of the Southern African Development Community and African Union, which both worked on a political deal to push Madagascar towards an election.

The row over the Dec. 20 election result threatens to extend the political paralysis that has deepened poverty in the giant island country off the southeast coast of Africa.

The crisis erupted when the army backed outgoing President Andry Rajoelina's power grab in 2009, ousting Marc Ravalomanana. Robinson is Ravalomanana's ally, while the declared winner of the election, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was a finance minister under Rajoelina.

The state electoral commission declared that Rajaonarimampianina took 53.5 percent of last month's vote to 46.5 percent for Robinson.

Elysé Razaka, Robinson's co-campaign manager, said the African bodies had accepted a request to hear Robinson who would "shed light on all this fraud and succeed in ensuring that all necessary measures are taken for a credible and transparent election that is accepted by all."

Razaka did not give a clear answer when asked if Robinson would call for street protests to press his case.

Turnout in the vote was lacklustre - just over half the 7.9 million registered voters cast a ballot in the second round, reflecting a broad distrust of Madagascar politicians.

The vote was meant to end a crisis that has driven out investors, cut aid flows and sharply slowed the economy. A protracted dispute over the outcome would do little to restore confidence in Madagascar's mining and petroleum exploration industries. (Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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