Voting underway in Madagascar

This is country’s first election since the 2009 coup that drove the country into poverty.

It is the island’s first election since Marc Ravalomanana was deposed in a 2009 coup. Picture: Commons Wikipedia

PRETORIA - Voting has been slow but peaceful in Madagascar.

It is the island's first election since Marc Ravalomanana was deposed in a 2009 coup that drove the country into international isolation and poverty.

The people of the island have taken their time going to vote.

Locals explain that many are unable to take advantage of the official holiday declared for polling, because to survive they have to man their pavement stalls, selling mostly vegetables and second-hand clothing.

They say they will cast their ballots this afternoon before polls close 11 hours after opening.

A healthy turnout is important to close the chapter on a coup that devastated the economy and has driven most of the people into poverty.

Results are not expected until early November and a runoff vote is expected in December.