UN chief hails peaceful presidential election in Madagascar

United Nations, Dec 21: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon has welcomed the peaceful holding of Madagascar presidential election and called on all parties in the island nation to maintain peace.

“The secretary-general commends the people of Madagascar, the Electoral Commission and the Malagasy government for their active contribution and participation in the holding of today’s presidential and legislative elections,” reported Xinhua citing a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson.

Madagascar had plunged into a political crisis in late 2008. In March 2009, Andry Rajoelina replaced Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the military. The takeover was seen as a coup by the international community.

The UN chief urged the Malagasy people, the transitional authorities and all political actors to continue to maintain the peaceful atmosphere during the vote counting and subsequent announcement of the results.

“The United Nations remains committed to supporting the successful conclusion of the Malagasy transition,” Ban said, adding that the will of the people of Madagascar, the island nation located in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa, must be respected.