Madagascar presidential candidate shows injury after opposition rally

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Former Madagascar president Marc Ravalomanana said he had sustained a leg injury on Saturday when police and soldiers fired teargas to disperse a gathering of his supporters and those of other candidates challenging the incumbent president.

Ravalomanana, who is among 11 candidates cleared to challenge President Andry Rajoelina in elections set for November 9, showed on his Facebook page a photo of an injury on his left leg with blood dripping from it.

It was not immediately clear what specifically caused the injury. A spokesperson for Ravalomanana did not immediately respond when sought for comment. Police and other government officials were not immediately available to comment.

A Reuters witness at the scene in the centre of Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo confirmed police firing teargas at the supporters, who numbered in the hundreds.

The Reuters witness said another former president Hery Rajaonarimampianina was also present among their supporters who had gathered to march before the teargas was fired.

Marchers were demanding changes to the officials running the election commission and for the formation of a special court to hear election disputes.

They also want Rajoelina to be disqualified from running on the grounds that he is not a Madagascan citizen, an accusation he has in the past dismissed.

The Indian Ocean island is hoping for its third peaceful election since an upheaval of 2009, when Rajoelina ousted Ravalomanana in a coup.

Rajoelina resigned in early September after being confirmed as a candidate in the forthcoming poll, in line with Madagascar’s constitution that requires a sitting head of state who wants to contest a presidential election to first step down.