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Madagascar opposition protest ahead of court's vote verdict

Former president Marc Ravalomanana was defeated on 19 December by another former leader of the Indian Ocean island, Andry Rajoelina, who won nearly 56% of a run-off vote.

Supporters of Madagascan presidential candidate Marc Ravalomanana scramble as security forces fire tear gas during a demonstration to protest election results on 2 January 2019. Picture: AFP

ANTANANARIVO - Hundreds of supporters of the losing Madagascar presidential candidate staged a protest in the capital Antananarivo on Thursday, rejecting the election result ahead of a court verdict reviewing the vote.

Former president Marc Ravalomanana was defeated on 19 December by another former leader of the Indian Ocean island, Andry Rajoelina, who won nearly 56% of a run-off vote.

The country's Constitutional Court is reviewing a petition filed by Ravalomanana, who claims the election was tarnished by massive fraud.

The court is due to hand down its ruling on 8 January.

"The message to the (court): we will not stop until the truth is restored," vowed Hanitra Razafimanantsoa, a lawmaker from Ravalomanana's TIM party.

The protesters have vowed to stage daily vigils until the results are announced next week.

Security forces fired tear gas to break up a demonstration on Wednesday by Ravalomanana supporters.

Ravalomanana and Rajoelina, long-term rivals, were banned from running in the 2013 election as part of an agreement to end recurring crises that have rocked Madagascar since it gained independence from France in 1960.