Madagascar hopes for change and goes to the polls

Madagascar to vote for familiar faces in presidential polls. Photo : AP / Kabir Dhanji

NEWSROOM (ADV) – Voters in Madagascar are voting to elect a president with hopes that a new leader will take their country out of chronic poverty and corruption.

Millions queued in long lines early on Wednesday to cast their ballots in a presidential election as the Indian Ocean island struggles to create jobs, fight poverty and end corruption.

The head of the European Union’s observer mission, Cristian Preda, said his team deployed across the country had not yet detected any anomalies in the polls, which he said were key for the restoration of Madagascar’s democratic credentials.

Observers are hoping for the second peaceful election since the upheaval of 2009, when Ravalomanana was forced out of office by protests led by Rajoelina in what international organisations such as the African Union said was a coup.

Nearly 10 million voters are eligible to cast ballots for one of 36 candidates who, as well as the three front-runners, include two ex-prime ministers, pastors and a rock star.

The 36 candidates have all promised to improve the country’s economy.

© Bur-csa – A.H / N.A – African Daily Voice (ADV)