Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina was re-elected in the first round of a vote boycotted by almost all opposition candidates, the electoral commission announced on Saturday.
Turnout was just over 46%, down from the previous 2018 presidential election.
Rajoelina, 49, came to power in 2009 following a mutiny that toppled former president Marc Ravalomanana. He then skipped the following elections to make a winning comeback in 2018.
The 11 million voters had to choose between Rajeolina and 12 other candidates. Ten of the outgoing president’s rivals refused to campaign and urged voters to avoid votingcalling it a prank.
Rajoelina, former mayor of the capital Antananarivo, is accused by his rivals of corruption, greed and turning a blind eye to the plunder of the country’s natural resources, notably its precious rosewood forests.
“What results? What election?” was the opposition’s common response to a request for comment on Rajeolina’s victory.
“We will not recognize the results of this illegitimate election, riddled with irregularities, and we decline all responsibility for the political and social instability that could result from it,” opponents warned.
The opposition has not yet indicated whether it will formally contest the result and has not called for more street protests.
In the weeks leading up to the vote, the opposition – including two former presidents – led near-daily, largely unauthorized protests, regularly broken up by police using tear gas.
Madagascar has been in turmoil since the media revealed in June that Rajoelina had acquired French nationality in 2014.
According to local law, the president should have lost his Malagasy nationality and, with it, the ability to lead the country, his opponents said.
Opposition candidates complained of an “institutional coup” in favor of the outgoing president, accusing the government of working to reappoint Rajoelina.
They called for the suspension of the electoral process and the intervention of the international community.
Eight countries and organizations, including the European Union and the United States, have expressed concern about the “disproportionate use of force” to disperse opposition protests.
The opposition denounced irregularities, including the closure of polling stations, the lack of ballot boxes and Rajoelina’s use of state resources for his campaign.
One of the two opponents formally remaining in the running, Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, also denounced “disturbing anomalies” which, according to him, “raise legitimate questions about the validity of the results”.
The results must still be validated by the High Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, within nine days, during which appeals in the event of a dispute can be lodged.