|Madagascar's Independent National Election Commission President Atallah Beatrice works at a polling station in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar, on Dec. 20, 2013. Voters in Madagascar went to the polls on Friday to choose a new president, who is expected to lead them out of a five-year political crisis. (Xinhua/He Xianfeng)|
ANTANANARIVO, Dec. 20 -- Madagascans went to the polls Friday in a runoff presidential election, hoping that a new leader would lead them out of a five-year political crisis.
"The election began smoothly throughout the 20,001 polling stations in the country," Atallah Beatrice, head of the Commission Electorale Nationale Independante pour la Transition (CENI-T), told Xinhua while inspecting stations at the Lycee technique of Alarobia.
"There's no incident, some polling stations already opened at 05:00 local time (0200 GMT) an hour before the official opening," she said.
Atallah added that officials worked rapidly than during the first round.
The Lycee technique of Alarobia hosts six polling stations that accomodate around 7,000 voters, according to an electoral official Rakotonandrasana Jerome.
More than 7.9 million registered voters are choosing their president among Jean Louis Robinson, supported by former president Marc Ravalomanana, and Hery Rajaonarimampianina, backed by Andry Rajoelina. Both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana, whom he ousted in a March 2009 coup, have been blocked from running.
On Friday, parliamentary elections are being held at the same time with the presidential runoff.