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Election security in Madagascar ensured: officials

ANTANANARIVO, Oct. 22 — Multiple measures are taken to ensure the validity of this week's Madagascar presidential election, electoral officials said on Monday during a press conference.

Atallah Beatrice, the president of Madagascar's Independent National Election Commission (CENIT), said that voting materials, escorted by CENIT officials and armed forces, have already arrived at their destinations.

"It will be the first time that Madagascar will computerize elections. All documents containing the results from polling stations will be scanned and sent by email to CENIT's headquarters in the capital just after the elections to know earlier the results and avoid fraud," said Beatrice. Then documents will be sent physically to CENIT headquarters by magistrates, accompanied by police officials, said Beatrice.

The United Nations representative to Madagascar Fatma Samoura said 9,000,000 ballots had been printed for 7,823,305 voters.

"Each ballot has its own serial number and secret marks that only the CENIT president and the printer know. They will not be issued before the election day," he said.

Armed forces had been deployed to ensure security before, during and after the elections, said Colonel Rakotoarisoa Anthony, director of security and intelligence under the National Gendarmerie.

They will stay near polling stations and the only way for them to get in is to vote as Malagasy citizens, the director said.

The election is set on Friday, October 25. If none of the 33 candidates gets over 50 percent of votes, a second round election will be held between the top two candidates on Dec. 20, 2013. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAM/EBP

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