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Mali: Cisse, Keita brace for Sunday's runoff vote

Mali’s opposition leader Soumaila Cisse will face President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in a run-off on Sunday without the support of third and fourth place candidates.

Keita, popularly known as IBK or “daddy” in local Bambara language, won the first round in July, with over 41 percent of the vote, but failed to get enough votes for an outright win.

Cisse finished second with nearly 18 percent. He has alleged there was widespread fraud in the first round and was trying to unite the other two dozen candidates behind him for the run-off.

Keita’s camp denies there was fraud and the constitutional court on Wednesday upheld the results.

Keita’s Campaign Director, Bokary Tetra said: “In an election there must really be a winner and a loser. It is a competition and in this competition, I would like each and every one to measure up to their true value. Those who win, will thank to God, because for us the power comes from divine inspiration. God helped them but maybe it is also the work they have done that was enough to give them a chance. Those who did not win should also give thanks to God because it is God who did not want this to be their turn. By giving thanks to God, by recognizing the chance that was given to them, they can carry on with their work and make tomorrow their tower.”

Turnout in the first round was just over 43 percent, in line with a historical average that is the lowest in West Africa.