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Madagascar Court Upholds Rajaonarimampianina Election Victory

Madagascar’s electoral court upheld Hery Rajaonarimampianina’s victory in last month’s presidential elections as his defeated rival urged regional leaders to investigate his claim that the vote was marred by fraud.

Rajaonarimampianina secured 53.49 percent of the ballots cast, compared with 46.51 percent for former Health Minister Jean Louis Robinson, the court said in a decision published on its website today in the capital, Antananarivo. The two candidates contested a run-off vote on Dec. 20 after no candidate garnered an outright majority in the first round of voting in October.

The court’s decision paves the way for Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister, to help the nation return to political stability after a coup five years ago when Andry Rajoelina seized power from then-president Marc Ravalomanana with the help of the military.

Rajoelina supported Rajaonarimampianina’s campaign in the first election since the 2009 coup, which plunged the island nation into crisis, stalling the economy and deepening poverty. Ravalomanana, who is living in exile in South Africa, backed the losing candidate.

Robinson said he will use legal channels to dispute irregularities in the vote. He has appealed to the Southern African Development Community for help.

The crisis in Madagascar has cost the economy, which relies on mainly tourism, agriculture, and mining, at least $8 billion in lost output, according to the World Bank.

Rio Tinto Plc, based in London, has a titanium mine in the country, Canada’s Sherritt International Corp. has a 40 percent stake in the Ambatovy nickel mine, and Lemur Resources Ltd., a Perth, Australia-based coal-exploration company, operates the Imaloto thermal-coal project. The country also produces sapphires and is the world’s second-biggest vanilla grower.

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