Voters across most parts of Mali have started casting their ballots in crucial presidential elections. Today’s vote is seen as a crucial test for the security set up in a country riled by terrorist violence.
Most polling stations have opened and the processes are running smoothly so far according to Africanews correspondent, Serge Koffi.
Aside the elections officials and observers going about their duties, there is a high security presence as local and United Nations forces seek to thwart any threat of violence.
People are thoroughly searched in areas seen as flash points before being allowed into polling stations. There are twenty-four candidates in the race.
Incumbent Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and the main opposition candidate Soumaila Cisse are expected to be the two main candidates in a field that also includes former Prime Minister Cheick Mohamed Abdoulaye Souad known as Modibo Diarra.
Former ministers Choguel Kokala Maïga, Mohamed Ali Bathily and Mountaga Tall, religious leader Harouna Sankaré and businesswoman Djeneba N’Diaye are also among the list of candidates seeking the highest office in the land.
BRIEF ON THE ELECTIONS
1. This is the country’s 8th presidential election.
2. In total, there are 8 regions plus the capital, Bamako.
3. The regions – divided into 49 blocs.
4. Each bloc is further split into into 703 area.
5. There are 23,041 polling stations to cater for 8,461,000 voters.