Polls have opened on Thursday in Madagascar’s presidential election, with the incumbent betting on re-election and most opposition candidates boycotting the poll over concerns about the vote’s integrity.
The Indian Ocean Island nation is the leading global producer of vanilla but also one of the world’s vulnerable countries and has been shaken by successive political crises since independence from France in 1960.
Following a nighttime curfew and weeks of protests, voting got calmly under way on Thursday morning, according to AFP journalists, with voters emerging from rudimentary polling places, their thumbs stained with green and gold indelible ink.
Polls are scheduled to stay open until 05:00 pm (1400 GMT), but it remains to be seen whether opposition-leaning voters will heed their candidates’ calls to stay home.
“I’m voting, but we know this isn’t normal,” said 43-year-old Eugene Rakatomalala. “There weren’t any candidates who did campaigns.”