Mali President Keita Reelected

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on August 16th, 2018

Bamako, Mali : Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won re-election with 67 percent of the vote in Sunday’s runoff, the government announced on Thursday. His rival, Soumaila Cisse, got 32.83 percent, local government minister Mohamed Ag Erlaf said.

European Union observers said on Tuesday they saw irregularities but not fraud during Mali’s presidential run-off, despite opposition accusations that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s camp cheated.

Results from Sunday’s second round between Keita and opposition leader Soumaila Cisse had not yet been released on Monday when Cisse called on his supporters on Monday to challenge Keita’s expected victory.

Cisse has not provided concrete evidence for his accusations and Keita has denied any wrongdoing. Cisse also said fraud marred last month’s first round, but the constitutional court upheld the results.

Mali is a major concern for Western powers due to the presence of militant groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“The vote generally took place calmly, despite security incidents in the centre and north,” EU mission head Cecile Kyenge told reporters in the capital Bamako.

“Our observers did not see fraud but problems of irregularities,” she said, citing threats by armed groups and a lack of communication between election officials.

In all, security issues prevented nearly 500 polling stations – about 2 percent of the total – from opening, according to Malian authorities.

EU observers did not deploy to some regions in the north and centre due to repeated attacks there by jihadist groups and ethnic militia this year that have killed hundreds of civilians, Malian troops and U.N. peacekeepers.

A Malian observer group estimated turnout for the second round at only about 27 percent of 8 million registered voters due to security fears and voter apathy.

Keita won the first round with about 41 percent of the vote despite his government’s failure to slow the surging violence.

Keita’s now faces the task of lifting Mali out of a spiral of violence in the centre and north where attacks worsened in the months leading up to the vote despite the presence of UN and French troops

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