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Madagascar postpones presidential election by a week

Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina answers reporters before their talks Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.   -  
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Lewis Joly/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

Madagascar

The first round of Madagascar's presidential election, initially scheduled for November 9, has been postponed by a week following the injury of a candidate during an opposition demonstration, the High Constitutional Court announced on Thursday.

"The High Constitutional Court, by virtue of its regulatory power, orders the postponement of the first round of the presidential election to November 16, 2023", pronounced the highest court of the Indian Ocean's great island in a decision published on its website.

The second round of voting has been maintained for December 20, but the electoral campaign, which officially began on Monday, has been extended by a week.

The election, in which incumbent president Andry Rajoelina is a candidate, has been in the making for several weeks in a climate that continues to deteriorate.

Former president Marc Ravalomanana said he had sustained a leg injury early october --when police and soldiers fired teargas to disperse a gathering of his supporters and those of other candidates challenging the incumbent president.

The opposition denounces a machination by the authorities to favour Rajoelina. Last month, the European Union and the United States affirmed that they were following the election preparations with "the utmost vigilance". A total of thirteen candidates are vying for the supreme office.

The majority of those who will oppose Mr. Rajoelina at the ballot box, in an alliance of convenience known as the "Collective of Eleven", have called for demonstrations on an almost daily basis since the beginning of the month. But these rallies have been prevented by the police, who have used tear gas.