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Carter Center Commends Peaceful Release of Madagascar Final Election Results; Urges Commitment to Reconciliation

Contact: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +1 404 420 5124; In Antananarivo, Stéphane Mondon, +261 347 212 613

Following today's announcement of final presidential election results, The Carter Center congratulates the people of Madagascar on reaching this key milestone and urges continued commitment to peace and reconciliation. While the country awaits final results of the legislative elections and resolution of any pending election-related complaints, the Center urges all stakeholders to commit to rising above the country's history of winner-take-all politics. The Center again congratulates the National Independent Electoral Commission of the Transition (CENI-T) on its administration of the elections, and commends the Special Electoral Court (CES) for performing its role with impartiality and a demonstrated commitment to advancing Madagascar's future. The Carter Center appeals to stakeholders to uphold their commitment to peace, constitutional order, and an inclusive democratic government.

The Carter Center observed Madagascar's Dec. 20, 2013, presidential runoff and legislative elections in partnership with the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA).  The Carter Center did not observe the first round of voting in the presidential elections that took place on Oct. 25, 2013, and the Center's observations are limited to the immediate period of the Dec. 20 polls.

The Center released a preliminary public statement on Dec. 22 summarizing the mission's observations of polling, which noted that voting and counting processes were peaceful, orderly, and in general accordance with Madagascar's legal framework and obligations for democratic elections. The Center commended the CENI-T for its commitment to ensuring that all eligible voters had an opportunity to cast their ballots freely. Carter Center observers noted a few shortcomings in the process, including inconsistent use of the separate voters list, delays in delivery of materials in some areas, and inconsistent inking procedures. However, these shortcomings were not systematic and did not impact the outcome of the elections. Carter Center observers remained deployed to observe the counting and tabulation process in Analanjirofo, Atsimo-Andrefana, Atsinanana, Boeny, Haute Matsiatra, and Vakinankaratra.

Post-election Period

The Carter Center deployed six long-term observer teams to six regions[1] of Madagascar. During deployment time, these observers based their reporting on meetings with 240 interlocutors in 19 constituencies (districts) of the country.

Carter Center observers generally reported a calm atmosphere in the days following the elections, with the population patiently awaiting results of the second round of presidential elections. The tabulation process was open to observation and was generally performed in a transparent manner; however, access to data in CENI-T's data collection IT center was not always fluid and the setup could be improved to allow for more comprehensive observation in the future. The Carter Center commends the people of Madagascar, political parties, CENI-T, and others key stakeholders who have urged for calm and respect for the peaceful resolution of disputes.

Counting and Tabulation

In accordance with the Malagasy electoral code, counting took place at polling-station level immediately following the closure of polls on election day.[2] Following counting, the presiding officer, representative of CENI-T, Fokontany Chief, or nominated representative of the SRMV was required to deliver the certified copy of the results (PV) along with supporting materials outlined in the electoral code to the corresponding transmission center (SRMV) in each district by the fastest method available.[3] The Carter Center observed that delivery of material to the transmission center was usually conducted by the person legally assigned to do so. In the majority of cases, Carter Center observers found that the transfer of material was properly conducted, in accordance with electoral procedures. However, the transfer of results was delayed in some districts due to the lack of adequate transport and miscommunication regarding the handover of material. A clearly outlined collection plan for electoral material was notably absent of the electoral code. In future elections, the Center recommends that a material collection plan be developed in advance to ensure that the transport of material ensures a timely publication of results.[4]

Despite these challenges relating to the timely transfer of materials, The Carter Center assessed that the conduct within transmission centers was acceptable in 87 percent of the transmission centers visited and that the overall process was sufficient. In the remaining 13 percent of transmission centers visited, observers noted that returning material was not properly recorded. In general, teams reported that increasing the number of staff in the future would increase the efficiency of the work of these institutions. Observers largely evaluated conduct of the transmission centers' operations as peaceful.

Following the count and transfer of preliminary results, the centralized tabulation process for the legislative elections and the second round of presidential elections took place between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 10, 2014. The Carter Center has found the counting and tabulation processes to be peaceful, with all observers reporting free access to the counting and tabulation processes.

As stated in the Center's preliminary statement on Dec. 22, Malagasy electoral law dictates that in a circumstance where the number of ballots in the ballot box is greater than the number of people who signed the voter's list, polling staff must randomly withdraw a matching number of ballots from the ballot box and declare them blank and invalid.[5] This procedure does not provide for a possibility to register separately invalidated ballots and genuinely blank ballots. The Carter Center notes that the absence of such information from the CENI-T resulting from the use of this procedure makes it impossible to distinguish between the total of invalid and blank votes. Providing such information in future elections will help ensure greater integrity and transparency of the process.

Declaration of Provisional Results

According to the law,[6] CENI-T has 10 days after the reception of the certified copy of results to declare provisional national electoral results. These certified results were received by CENI-T on Dec. 31, 2013, giving the body until Jan. 10, 2014, to announce national provisional results. In compliance with its legal obligation, CENI-T announced preliminary results for the second round of presidential elections on Jan. 3 and preliminary results for the legislative elections on Jan. 10. Although CENI-T has complied with this legal calendar, The Carter Center notes that further improvements should be made regarding the collection of materials to expedite the process in the future.

The CES conducted a parallel process of tabulation that has been the basis for the final declaration of result, which is the only one that is legally binding. On Jan. 17, the CES released the final results of the presidential elections, officially declaring Hery Rajaonarimampianina Rakotoarimanana winner of the second round with 2.060.124 votes (53.49 percent) against Jean Louis Robinson with 1.791.336 votes (46.51 percent).  These results are very similar to those released by the CENI-T. While it is unfortunate that voter turnout was lower than in the first round of elections at about 50 percent, an important decrease in the number of invalid ballots between the first and second rounds was positive.

For the legislative elections, CENI-T declared that results from 13 polling stations were considered cancelled due to the failure to complete electoral operations on the election day. Most of cases concerned non-delivery of electoral material to transmission centers, in two cases due to insecurity in the area concerned. In three cases voting operations did not take place due to attack on polling staff. In one case, a polling staff was arrested during election day and not replaced, which stopped the vote in this polling station. For an additional 40 polling stations, the certified copies of the result were unreadable.

For presidential elections, there were a small number of polling stations in which presidential results were not included in the final CENI-T count. Presidential results from 16 polling stations were not returned to transmission centers, and therefore not included in the final count. In a small number of cases where the number of total votes cast significantly exceeded the number of voters registered, CENI-T was obligated to transfer all corresponding electoral material to  the CES for further examination. In one case this process was not completed due to the lack of counting forms. It is important to note that the total number of votes at these polling stations is not significant and would not affect the outcome of the election.

Electoral Dispute Resolution

By Dec. 31, 2013, the deadline for the submission of complaints to the CES, 70 electoral complaints were filed in relation to the presidential election, 63 of which were submitted on the very last day of the complaint period.  A total of 580 complaints were submitted related to the legislative elections. Of these complaints, two significant submissions called for a cancellation of the election results and disputed the preliminary results.

In advance of the announcement of results, the CES released nine key decisions in the first weeks of January. The most important of these was the decision that the CES would not disqualify any candidate or detract votes from any candidate on the basis of the CES's annulment of the decree of Aug. 6, 2013, authorizing heads of institution to participate in the campaign.

The Carter Center commends the CES on the impartiality and objectivity that it has demonstrated during the electoral process, and calls for the respect of the will of the Malagasy people. The Carter Center appeals to stakeholders to uphold their commitment to peace and constitutional order, and calls on political stakeholders to advance this opportunity to overcome the country's history of winner-takes-all politics and commit to an inclusive democratic government.


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

[1] Atsinanana, Analanjirofo, Vakinankaratra, Amoron'I Mania, Haute Matsiara, Atsimo Andrefana
[2] Organic Law n° 2012-005 of Mar. 22, 2012, Art. 98.
[3] Organic Law n° 2012-005 of Mar. 22, 2012, Art. 113.
[4] Commonwealth Secretariat, Dimensions of Free and Fair Elections: Frameworks, Integrity, Transparency, Attributes, Monitoring, 47, "The timely announcement of election results enhances the transparency of the electoral process. The promptness or otherwise with which the results of an election are made known may depend on the electoral system that is in place. The first-past-the-post system has the ability to produce early results, particularly when the counting of the ballots is done at the polling stations."
[5] Guide a l'usage des membres du Bureau de Vote, page. 24.
[6] Organic Law n°2012-015, Art. 26 (for presidential elections); Organic Law n°2012-016, Art. 53 (for legislative elections).


Le Centre Carter salue l'annonce pacifique des résultats finaux des élections à Madagascar; Appelle à un engagement à la réconciliation

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