Madagascar's "grand electors" have voted to elect a Senate, six years after the upper house of parliament was dissolved because of a coup in the notoriously unstable island nation.
"The elections passed off well today with a high turnout," electoral commission president Hery Rakotomanana told AFP.
The nearly 13,000 grand electors - the former French colony's mayors and city councillors - cast ballots for 42 of the senators, while another 21 are to be appointed by the head of state.
The upper chamber was dissolved after Antananarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina ousted President Marc Ravalomanana in the 2009 coup, which ushered in years of turmoil in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Rajoelina headed up a "transitional" regime until finally a presidential election was held in 2013, won by Hery Rajaonarimampianina and deemed free and fair.
Observers hope the new Senate will include a majority of backers of the sitting president - as indicated by initial results based on 10 per cent of the ballots.
With the Senate in place, the president will be able to dissolve the lower house national assembly and call snap polls.
The president and his government, currently with no support in the lower house, have weathered two attempts by the MPs to unseat him this year for alleged constitutional violations and general incompetence.
Madagascar remains one of the world's poorest countries, heavily dependent on foreign aid that was virtually cut off following the 2009 coup.
The country off of Africa's southeastern coast with a population of 23 million is famed for its unique wildlife, the result of evolution though geographical isolation.