ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar – With hopes that the election of a new president will end international sanctions, residents of this Indian Ocean island are going to the polls for a second round of presidential and legislative elections.
The sanctions were imposed after Marc Ravalomanana's democratically-elected government was overthrown by Andry Rajoelina in a military-backed takeover in 2009. Madagascar has an estimated 7.5 million registered voters.
For president, voters Friday choose between Jean Louis Robinson, a former Minister of Public Health and former Minister of Sports, and outgoing Finance Minister Hery Rajaonarimampianina. Robinson has the support of Ravalomanana, while Rajaonarimampianina is backed by Rajoelina.
Madagascar lost a lot of foreign aid because of sanctions imposed after the coup and was suspended from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.