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Mali: low turnout in run-off poll due to security fears- Observers


Election observers in Mali on Monday said voters stayed away in droves from the country’s run-off presidential election due to fears over security and apathy.

However, they said the voting process was generally fair despite a number of incidents.

Mali’s security minister, Salif Traore addressed a news conference on Monday saying some polling stations could not open because they were inaccessible.

“The association at 8hrs-00 gives us 490 polling stations that could not open. I repeat we were at 871 last time and this time we are at 490 stations that could not open. Unfortunately, once more the region of Mopti comes in the lead with around 440 stations that could not open and out of the 440 a minimum of 100 stations that could not open because they were inaccessible”, Traore said.

Mali’s Citizen Observation Pool, a civil society group said security fears severely dampened the turnout, which it estimated at just over 27 percent of the eight million registered voters.

Turnout is usually about 40 percent in Malian elections.

The vote was between incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and opposition leader Soumaila Cissé after none of them secured a fifty plus one percent of the first round of vote in July. Keïta polled 41 percent of the vote and Cissé had 17 percent.

Cissé, who accused the government of cheating in the first round, on Monday against alleged electoral fraud which he said he won.

Mali is high on the list of Western powers’ security concerns due to the presence of militant groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State. A successful election is seen as vital in the move to restore stability as the government tackles resurgent Islamist threat and outbreaks of ethnic strife.


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