Antananarivo - Former finance minister Hery Rajaonarimampianina, considered a proxy for the leader of Madagascar's 2009 military-backed coup, was winning a presidential runoff, according to provisional results released on Friday.
Rajaonarimampianina, aged 55, was receiving 53.5% of the ballots cast in the 20 December vote while his rival, Robinson Jean Louis, was taking 46.5%, the election commission said.
Former health minister Jean Louis is considered the representative of Marc Ravalomanana, the democratically elected president ousted in the 2009 coup, which was led by the current president Andry Rajoelina.
The coup brought political instability to the tropical island off East Africa and saw foreign aid slashed and the economy nose-dive.
The Malagasy people perceived the election as crucial in reversing this trend. Both Ravalomanana and Rajoelina were barred from contesting the election.