Special court in Madagascar approves election of new leader, rejects recount demands

A court in Madagascar has confirmed the presidential election victory of Hery Rajaonarimampianina, a candidate who was backed by the country's former strongman.

The special electoral court on Friday rejected allegations of vote-rigging and recount demands by rival Robinson Jean Louis, a former minister of public health and sports who lost in a second round of voting on the Indian Ocean island on Dec. 20.

Rajaonarimampianina, an ex-finance minister, was backed by former leader Andry Rajoelina. Robinson was supported by Marc Ravalomanana, a leader ousted by Rajoelina in a 2009 coup.

International sanctions were imposed after the coup, and Madagascar hopes they will be lifted now that a new election has taken place.

In a statement, Rajaonarimampianina says his election represents the establishment of the rule of law.