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Madagascar's former finance minister wins disputed ballot

Madagascar's former finance minister, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, is winning the provisional presidential run-off vote tally. Alleged voting irregularities have delayed the final result.

All votes have been counted in Madagascar's presidential run-off with Hery Rajaonarimampianina – who is backed by strongman Andra Rajoelina – reportedly holding 53.5 percent of the vote, according to provisional results released on Friday.

Rajaonarimampianina's opponent, Robinson Jean-Louis, the country's former health minister and representative of Marc Ravalomanana, the democratically elected president who was ousted in a 2009 coup, won 46.5 percent of the ballot, according to the president of the electoral commission (CENIT), Beatrice Attallah.

Jean-Louis claimed ballot stuffing and misreporting of election results, calling the December 20 election a "massive fraud."

His party has filed over 300 complaints to the electoral court, as well as demanding a re-count of ballot papers.

As a result, no victor will be declared until the electoral court hands down its ruling, which is expected within 15 days.

Incumbent president Adra Rajoelina seized power from his rival Marc Ravalomanana with help of the army in 2009.

As a result of the coup, both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana were persuaded by the international community not to run for election again, and the December vote was led by their proxy candidates.

The coup brought political instability to the island off East Africa. Foreign aid was halted and subsequently the country's economy plummeted. The World Bank has reported that the crisis cost the country more than eight billion euros ($10.92 billion).

International electoral observers approved the vote and called on parties to respect the country's electoral process.

jlw/tj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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