Antananarivo - International observers of key elections
in Madagascar on Friday expressed satisfaction that the vote had gone well
despite isolated violent incidents.
"There was no electoral violence in general, and the
election took place in a calm, peaceful and transparent environment," the
head of the European Union (EU) observer
mission, Maria Muniz de Urquiza, told AFP.
A local government official was shot dead in a polling
station in the south of the Indian Ocean island, while another person was
kidnapped in a different town and unknown people set fire to a polling station
in the north.
But election authorities said the murder was a revenge
attack unrelated to the polls and that voting returned to normal soon after.
The killing also occurred in a region notorious for violence related to
"Incidents such as the murder had nothing to do with
the electoral process, but with banditry, according to the information we
have," the EU's Muniz de Urquiza, told AFP.
"The irregularities or little problems we witnessed
such as the late delivery of election materials were resolved fairly
quickly," she said.
"Until now we are generally happy."
The US-based Carter Centre also commended the conduct of
the vote with the head of its observer team Stephane Mondon saying incidents
such as the murder of the government official "seem quite isolated".
"Generally, it went by calmly, and logistically, it
was conducted better than we feared," he added.
The long-delayed elections are expected to restore
democracy and bring back desperately needed foreign aid after a 2009 coup
plunged the island nation into crisis.