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Mali's Keita reaches out to opposition as he seeks to mend divisions


Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the official winner of the presidential election, reached out to the opposition for his second term starting in September in a country still facing the threat of jihadi violence despite five years of international military intervention.

During a hearing broadcast on public television ORTM, the constitutional court rejected all the arguments of the opposition candidate, Soumaïla Cissé, finding them inadmissible or unfounded for lack of evidence, thereby confirming Keita’s victory.

Mr Keïta, 73, obtained 67.16% of the votes in the second round on 12 August, compared to 32.84% in Soumaïla Cissé, a former Minister of Finance aged 68, announced the magistrate by deducting only one hundredth from the score of the outgoing president announced by the Ministry of Territorial Administration last Thursday.

We reject these results

Mr. Cissé, who in the 2013 presidential election had quickly admitted defeat against “IBK”, had this time “categorically” rejected the provisional results. According to his calculations, he “won this election with 51.75% of the votes”.

“We reject these results,” told AFP his right-hand man, Tiébilé Dramé, after the court ruling. “The Constitutional Court has issued a ruling confirming fraud and manipulation of results,” he said on the phone.

The opposition leader called on his supporters to “resist” during a demonstration in Bamako on Saturday that brought together more than a thousand people.

After the election, the European Union declared “urgent to accelerate the implementation of the agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali resulting from the Algiers process”. The United States also called for “rapid implementation” of the agreement.

As Keita prepares to take another presidential oath, huge challenges remain. Almost half of the population lives below the poverty line although Mali has once again become Africa’s leading cotton producer and its economy has grown by more than 5% for several years.

Jihadi and inter-communal violence also threaten to tear the country’s fragile security apart.

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