INTRODUCTION: The Malagasy Republic's ruling AREMA party has gained some 90 percent of the votes in local government elections.
INTRODUCTION: The Malagasy Republic's ruling AREMA party has gained some 90 percent of the votes in local government elections. It's the first election in the country since last year's constitutional difficulties.
SYNOPSIS: Three million voters went to the polls in the first of a series of elections to be held under a new constitution approved last year. The elections are the first stage to voting by the whole country for a People's National Assembly, or national government. Five parties took part, but all except AREMA lost votes. The Government, headed by President Didier Ratsiraka, eventually plans to have only one combined party, as agreed under the new constitution.
Even before the final votes had been counted, President Ratsiraka had issued a statement thanking his supporters. He said he had purposely not taken part in the election campaign for the local government so as not to influence voters. President Ratsiraka was originally elected head of state as part of last year's nationwide constitution referendum.