Run-off poll likely in Madagascar as results continue to trickle in

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A voter awaits as CENI officials authenticate his identity before voting in the November 7 election.

Madagascans will likely head back to the ballot to elect their new president, as preliminary results from 70 percent of the polling stations indicate a tight race between two former presidents.

According to provisional results released on Wednesday by the electoral body CENI, former transitional president Andry Rajoelina is in the lead with around 39 percent of the votes counted, followed closely by former president Marc Ravalomanana who has so far garnered 36 percent.

The most recent president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, is far behind, with 7 percent.

The results released on Wednesday were from 17,097 of the 24,852 polling stations.

The November 7 election attracted a record 36 candidates, but pollsters projected that only three would have a chance at the top seat; Rajaonarimampianina, Rajoelina and Ravalomanana.

For a clear win in the first round, a candidate must obtain 50 percent plus one of the votes cast. If no candidate manages that figure then the island nation will head back to the ballot on December 19.