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

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.