Madagascar poll position

Antananarivo (Reuter) - Albert Zafy, who is leading in Madagascar's presidential poll, said he expected his opponent, Didier Ratsiraka, to go quietly. He did not think Mr Ratsiraka would mount a rearguard action to extend his 17 years in power.

Results from nearly half of the polling stations gave Mr Zafy 67 per cent of the vote. Final results are due next month. Federalists loyal to Mr Ratsiraka proclaimed breakaway states in several regions last year but their movement lost steam in the run-up to the first round of the presidential elections in November.

'He has said many times that he will respect the results of the ballot box. That means he accepts democracy,' said Mr Zafy, who led a popular revolt against Mr Ratsiraka in 1991.

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