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Mali opposition says poll set for run-off, incumbent president claims lead

Mali opposition says poll set for run-off, incumbent president claims lead

Mali

The main opposition candidate in Mali’s presidential election Soumaila Cisse said Monday that the poll would go to a run-off.

Cisse’s campaign director, Tiebele Drame told a news conference that ‘‘despite a vote defined by irregularities, the incumbent president can’t win in the first round.”

“We are now able to tell you that there will be a second round for this presidential election, between Soumaila Cisse and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. We are indeed heading towards a second round. What does this mean? This means that the presidential side’s aim to win in the first round, by knock-out, or said in the bambara national language, has failed”, Drame said.

We are indeed heading towards a second round. What does this mean? This means that the presidential side's aim to win in the first round, by knock-out, or said in the bambara national language, has failed.

Earlier, Malian incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s spokesman had said the president was substantially in the lead according to provisional count, hinting that he could win the election on the first round.

Spiraling jihadist violence has become a key issue in the campaign, as attacks multiply and the death toll mounts across north and central Mali.

Ministry of Territorial Administration figures showed that, of the roughly 23,000 polling stations that were meant to open, 4,632 were disrupted by “armed attacks or other violence,” of which 644 were unable to operate.

In most of Mali, the vote was peaceful and relatively well-organised.

A disputed result could stir up tensions in the French-speaking West African nation.

The United Nations is pilling pressure on all sides to accept the result or at least contest it through legal channels to avoid a political crisis that would only add to the security woes the country is already facing.

Reuters

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