Madagascar President-Elect Hery Rajaonarimampianina. PHOTO/Reuters
Madagascar on Friday declared Hery Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister backed by strongman Andry Rajoelina, as the country’s new president, after elections aimed at restoring democracy.
Rajaonarimampianina, 55, was “declared officially president of the Republic of Madagascar,” with just over 53 percent of the votes, said the president of the electoral court, Francois Rakotozafy.
The new president-elect vowed to work together with his opponents and bring prosperity to the Indian Ocean island nation.
“I will be the president of all of you without distinction,” he said in Malagasy after the court’s announcement. “I’m asking for your help so we can develop the country.” His backer, incumbent strongman Rajoelina, seized power from then president Marc Ravalomanana in 2009, plunging Madagascar into political and economic crisis.
Their proxy candidates dominated the vote, after the 2 rivals were prevented from running for office due to pressure over fears of a return to violence.
The announcement of the election result had been delayed pending the court’s ruling on allegations of voting irregularities, following a challenge by runner-up Jean Louis Robinson.
Robinson, 61, who was backed by Ravalomanana and garnered 46.51 percent of the vote, on Friday rejected the court’s declaration. “We contest this result because none of our complaints were heard. They said there wasn’t proof but we’ve given a lot of proof,” he said.
Rajaonarimampianina’s inauguration “will be void”, he added.