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Claims of cheating in Madagascar's presidential election

Twice-elected Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana has produced 500 ballot papers handed to him on Tuesday night before the polls opened on Wednesday morning.

This combination of file pictures created on 17 November 2018, shows former presidents of Madagascar and main candidates in the country's 2018 presidential election, Marc Ravalomanana (L) in Antananarivo on August 25, 2018, Andry Rajoelina (R) in Paris on 1 February 2018. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA - There have been claims of cheating as Madagascar’s 10 million voters cast their ballot in a presidential runoff between two former leaders who’ve become bitter rivals.

Failure of this election could drive the world’s seventh poorest country into even more despair.

Twice-elected Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana has produced 500 ballot papers handed to him on Tuesday night before the polls opened on Wednesday morning.

They come from men who told him they’d been given stacks of voters' registration cards and told to use them at as many polling stations as possible.

Ravalomanana fears such cheating could rob him of any change of beating Andry Rajoelina who ousted him in a 2009 coup that drove Madagascar into isolation, instability and poverty.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)