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Mali Goes to Polls in Crucial Election Runoff

Mali Goes to Polls in Crucial Election RunoffMali Goes to Polls in Crucial Election Runoff

Malians voted in a crucial election runoff on Sunday that has been marred by allegations of fraud and a tense security situation in the vast West African country.

The country held a second election after the 24 candidates who competed for the top seat failed to get more than the required 50% of votes in the first round last month. Turnout was low in the first round at about 40%.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who won 41% of the vote in July’s poll, is favored to beat Soumaila Cisse, who garnered 18%, even though violence has surged during his tenure, Al Jazeera reported.

Sunday’s vote was a rerun of a 2013 face-off that Keita won by a landslide over Mali’s former finance minister Cisse.

It was the first time in Mali’s history that an incumbent president had to face a runoff. More than nine million people registered to take part in the election. July’s poll was marred by armed attacks and other security incidents that disrupted about one-fifth of polling places—or 644 stations.

Officials in the capital, Bamako, said security was tightened for the second round, with 20% more soldiers on duty.

This means 36,000 Malian troops were to be deployed, 6,000 more than two weeks earlier, with a particular focus on the Mopti region in the centre of the country, where voting stations had been closed, Cheick Oumar, an aide in the prime minister’s office, told AFP on Saturday.

 

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