ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar–The party of Madagascar’s president has won an overwhelming victory in last month’s senatorial elections, held six years after the upper house of parliament was dissolved because of a coup, the electoral commission said. According to preliminary results published on Saturday, President Hery Rajaonarimampianina’s HVM party won more than 60 percent of the vote in each of the country’s seven provinces. Nearly 13,000 “grand electors” — the former French colony’s mayors and city councilors — cast ballots for 42 of the senators in the notoriously unstable island nation, while another 21 are to be appointed by the head of state. Despite concerns raised by the opposition and observers, the electoral commission told the press Saturday it had accomplished its mission in holding a successful vote. The results have been forwarded to the Constitutional Court to determine the number of seats awarded to each party. The upper chamber was dissolved after Antananarivo Mayor Andry Rajoelina ousted President Marc Ravalomanana in the 2009 coup, which ushered in years of turmoil in the Indian Ocean archipelago. Rajoelina headed up a “transitional” regime until finally a presidential election was held in 2013, won by Hery Rajaonarimampianina and deemed free and fair. With the Senate in place, the president will be able to dissolve the lower house national assembly and call snap polls. The president and his government, currently with no support in the lower house, have weathered two attempts by the MPs to unseat him last year for alleged constitutional violations and general incompetence.
Madagascar remains one of the world’s poorest countries, heavily dependent on foreign aid that was virtually cut off following the 2009 coup.