World

Madagascar holds elections in hopes of ending years of political turmoil, to restore security

  • People stand in line to vote at a polling station during elections in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. Madagascar holds elections on Friday in an effort to end political tensions that erupted in a 2009 coup and lift the aid-dependent country out of poverty. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

    People stand in line to vote at a polling station during elections in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. Madagascar holds elections on Friday in an effort to end political tensions that erupted in a 2009 coup and lift the aid-dependent country out of poverty. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man selling food stuff walks home, past  rice field's near the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. Madagascar will hold elections on Friday that organizers hope will end political tensions that erupted in a 2009 coup and help lift the aid-dependent country out of poverty. The island nation in the Indian Ocean plunged into turmoil after Andry Rajoelina, the current president, forcibly took power from former President Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the military.  (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

    A man selling food stuff walks home, past rice field's near the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. Madagascar will hold elections on Friday that organizers hope will end political tensions that erupted in a 2009 coup and help lift the aid-dependent country out of poverty. The island nation in the Indian Ocean plunged into turmoil after Andry Rajoelina, the current president, forcibly took power from former President Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the military. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man cast his fishing net in a river near the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. Madagascar will hold elections on Friday that organizers hope will end political tensions that erupted in a 2009 coup and help lift the aid-dependent country out of poverty. The island nation in the Indian Ocean plunged into turmoil after Andry Rajoelina, the current president, forcibly took power from former President Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the military.  (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

    A man cast his fishing net in a river near the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. Madagascar will hold elections on Friday that organizers hope will end political tensions that erupted in a 2009 coup and help lift the aid-dependent country out of poverty. The island nation in the Indian Ocean plunged into turmoil after Andry Rajoelina, the current president, forcibly took power from former President Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the military. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)  (The Associated Press)

In an election that could mark the end of years of political turmoil brought about by a coup in 2009, residents on the island nation of Madagascar are lining up to vote in hopes of restoring security.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. (0300GMT) Friday to a low turnout with only 50 voters in line at a public junior school on the outskirts of Antananarivo, the capital.

Madagascar government officials have declared Friday a holiday to allow voters to cast their ballots. But in a nation with high levels of poverty and a wage of a $1.10 a day, most people went about their business, delivering goods in ox-drawn carts and doing laundry.

The electoral body says more than 7.8 million eligible voters will cast their ballots at 20,000 polling stations.