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Madagascar president resigns ahead of polls in November

World leaders address the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina has resigned after he was officially confirmed as a candidate in the Indian Ocean Island nation's presidential elections scheduled for November 9, according to the country's constitutional court.

Madagascar's constitution requires a sitting head of state who wants to contest a presidential election to first resign.

Rajoelina sent his resignation letter to the court on Saturday following confirmation of his candidature in the elections, the High Constitutional Court said in a statement late on Saturday.

The president of the senate is supposed to assume presidential powers when the head of state resigns but the court said the senate head, Herimanana Razafimahefa, had declined to take over.

"For personal reasons, he will not be able to fully exercise the responsibilities that the office of Head of State requires," the court said referring to Razafimahefa.

Instead, the court said, presidential power would now be exercised by the government collectively with the prime minister as the head.

Also on Saturday, Madagascar's High Court published the official list of presidential candidates. Of the 28 contenders, 13 were selected, including Rajoelina and two former presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Hery Rajaonarimampianina.

Madagascar is hoping for its third peaceful election since the upheaval of 2009, when Rajoelina ousted President Marc Ravalomanana in a coup, prompting an exodus of foreign investors from the Indian Ocean island.

(Reporting by Lova Rabary; Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Sharon Singleton)