Voters in Madagascar went to the polls in the first ever election since the military-backed coup the country endured four years ago. The 2013 Madagascar presidential election is expected to terminate years of political turmoil and economic stagnation caused by the coup in 2009 and set the once relatively stable country on the path to rapid development.
The atmosphere in the country was quiet and calm throughout the elections. There were very few violent incidents reported across the country which included the unfortunate death of a district chief in a polling station in the south of Madagascar just hours after voting commenced in the morning. However, the election was generally peaceful despite brief occasions of fear and panic caused by such violent incidents.
Thirty-three candidates contested in the election, which had been postponed three times this year. Polls opened at 6 a.m. (0300GMT) Friday, October 25th, to a low turnout with only 50 voters in line at a public junior school on the outskirts of Antananarivo, the capital. By 6: 00 pm (15:00GMT), voting had officially ended although voters who had still not yet cast their votes before the official time were allowed to do so.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition (CENI-T), 7,697,382 voters were registered who cast their ballots at 20,115 polling stations in Madagascar, a country the size of France with a scattered population. If there is no first-round winner, there will be a run-off vote in eight weeks on December 20, 2013.