Madagascar's presidential runoff pits 2 ex-heads of state

Madagascar's presidential runoff pits 2 ex-heads of state
A man cycles past a street vendor with election posters in Antananarivo, Madagascar,Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. Two former presidents of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana, are set for for a run-off. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) — The Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar goes to the polls on Wednesday for a runoff presidential election that features two former heads of state who have a prickly past.

Andry Rajoelina received 39 percent of the vote in the first round, while Marc Ravalomanana got 35 percent. They face off for the first time since political turmoil in 2009 forced Ravalomanana from power. Both have said they will accept the runoff’s results.

The capital, Antananarivo, is vibrant in the final days before the vote with the orange T-shirts of Rajoelina and the white and green ones of Ravalomanana worn by hundreds of supporters. Minibuses fill the streets with ringing chants for one candidate or the other.

Ten million voters are registered in Madagascar, one of the world’s poorest nations.