Madagascar's Presidential candidate Robinson Jean-Louis salutes his supporters during prayers and a post-elections rally in the capital Antananarivo. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Antananarivo - Former health minister Jean-Louis Robinson was ahead as ballots were counted Sunday in presidential elections in Madagascar that EU observers called free and fair.

Robinson was garnering 27 per cent of Friday's ballots while his main rival, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, had 15 per cent with 10 per cent of the vote counted.

When the final results would be available was unclear. Thirty-three candidates ran in the election.

The head of the EU observer mission, Maria Muniz de Urquiza, said Sunday that the voting was “free, transparent and credible.”

The election was peaceful and the polling stations were organized professionally, she said.

There were doubts as to how orderly the election would proceed after it was postponed three times this year.

Robinson is an ally of former president Marc Ravalomanana, who was toppled in a military coup in March 2009. Rajaonarimampianina is backed by Ravalomanana's successor, Andry Rajoelina.

Sapa-dpa