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UPDATED: 20:33, April 05, 2007
Turnout low in referendum on constitutional revision in Madagascar
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Preliminary statistics showed that 80 percent of Madagascar's eligible voters did not go to poll on Wednesday in the referendum on constitution revision, local media reported on Thursday.

In the north of the country which was hit for several times by strong cyclones during the current tropical storm season, the majority of voters cast "no" votes, a result beyond official expectation, Les Nouvelles, or News in English, said on Thursday.

In the capital of Antananarivo, only one elector voted in every 10 minutes on Wednesday morning, the French-language daily said, adding that the turnout was only 31.7 percent. Over 67 percent of the electors approved the amendment while 32.21 percent against it.

The government had expected an active turnout of voters in the referendum with at least 80 percent of them approved the amendment.

Seven millions of legal voters out of a population of 18 millions had been expected to cast their votes on Wednesday in the referendum on revision of the constitution which was also approved by a referendum in 1992.

This is the first time that a voting took place in a workingday while other elections including the presidential election last December were held on Sundays.

President Marc Ravalomanana said repeatedly during the three- week campaign to promote the amendment that the revision would accelerate economic development of the country and create favorite conditions to realize the targets of the government economic plan.

Under the revised constitution, all six autonomous provinces will be abolished with an aim to exercise a better management of the country and the development of local will be mainly based on village and district levels. English will be another national language besides Malagasy and French.

Final results of the referendum will be announced officially on Saturday.

Source: Xinhua

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