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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:14, April 05, 2007
Referendum goes on calmly in Madagascar
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Millions of Madagascans including President Marc Ravalomanana cast their votes Wednesday on revision of the constitution, which was also approved by a referendum in 1992.

After casting his vote in a station here, Ravolomanana urged the people to do their duty in order to realize the development targets of the country.

The president encouraged the people in the northeast hit repeatedly by cyclones to never give up in face of difficulties, saying he would send a delegation to the area to see the damages and make efforts to help the people.

In Faravohitra polling station, where the president cast his vote, about 110 electors out of 1309 registered electors cast their votes by 9 a.m. local time (0600 GMT).

This is the first time a voting took place in a working day while other elections including the national presidential election last December went on Sundays.

Immediately after the closure of the vote, officials in the polling station would begin counting the votes in the presence of the public, and inform the people of the result.

Official Statistics showed that over 7 million legal voters over 18 out of a population of some 18 million turned up to cast their votes in 108 districts of the 22 regions of the country in the second referendum on constitution since 1992.

President Ravalomanana said on several occasions that the revision would accelerate economic development of the Indian Ocean island country and create favorite conditions to realize the targets of the government economic plan, published early last month. Under revised version of the constitution, all six autonomous provinces will be abolished with an aim to excise a better management of the country and the development of local will be mainly based at village and district levels.

If approved, English will be another national language besides Malagasy and French for Madagascar, which won its independence from France in 1960s.

Ravalomanana, elected as president of the country in a national election last December for a second five-year term, traveled to several regions in the country in a three-week campaign to convince his people to cast their "yes" votes on revision of a number of clauses of the constitution.

Unlike the last election four months ago, no international observers were seen at 17,584 polling stations all over the country as local media described the referendum as a "family affair."

Final results of the referendum will be announced Saturday.

Source: Xinhua

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