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Two ex-presidents through to Madagascar election run-off: results

Neither won the 50% required for a first-round win, with Rajoelina on 39.19% and Ravalomanana on 35.29%, according to final results from the CENI election commission, with the run-off scheduled for 19 December.

Madagascar’s former president Andry Rajoelina. Picture: United Nations Photo.

ANTANANARIVO - Two former presidents of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana, came out top in the country's election, results showed Saturday, and are set to compete in a run-off.

Neither won the 50% required for a first-round win, with Rajoelina on 39.19% and Ravalomanana on 35.29%, according to final results from the CENI election commission, with the run-off scheduled for 19 December.

Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who was running to hold onto power, secured only 8.84% of the vote, the commission said, adding turnout was 54.3%.

All three leading candidates, out of 36 runners, have raised allegations of fraud and malpractice by election authorities, and the result could be subject to a fierce legal battle.

"We have adopted three rules of conduct: transparency, impartiality and independence," CENI president Hery Rakotomanana said as the final results were announced.

"We have not accepted any orders from anyone in this election... no favours have been given to anyone."

Madagascar is one of the world's poorest countries, according to World Bank data, with almost four in five people living in grinding poverty on the Indian Ocean island.

But the frontrunners spent huge sums on flashy campaign rallies, helicopters and giveaways such as free T-shirts for supporters.