Incumbent Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, @73, re-elected in Mali
Mali’s incumbent President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has won Sunday’s heavily disputed run-off election with 67.17% of the vote, official results show.
Opposition candidate Soumaila Cisse, who won 32.83% of the vote, said on Monday that he would reject the result as he believed the vote was marred by fraud.
“I call on all Malians to rise up… We will not accept the dictatorship of fraud,” he said.
The internet could not be accessed via mobile phone networks in the capital, Bamako, ahead of the announcement of official results, AFP news agency reports.
Keita’s share of 41 percent votes fell short of the 50 percent required to secure an outright victory, prompting a runoff with closest rival, Cisse, who garnered 18 percent.
Reports of widespread violence and rigging notwithstanding, Mali has recorded its first toughest election where an opposition candidate forced the incumbent into a runoff.
The voting process encountered numerous obstacles, including rigging allegations and attacks carried out by an an-Qaeda-allied armed group operating in northern Mali.
“Violence cancelled voting in three percent of polling stations and disrupted it in one-fifth of them, particularly in the central Mopti region where a recent surge in inter-ethnic killings discouraged many residents from casting their ballots.
Mali’s central government has little control over its northern regions, where it relies on a United Nations peacekeeping mission and French troops to assure some limited degree of security”, Aljazeera said.
Such challenges notwithstanding, the July 29 vote has ushered in an extraordinary moment in Malian political history.
With the field of candidates narrowing from 24 in the first round to just two, the opportunity for an opposition upset has never been greater – and IBK’s campaign must go all-out to convince sceptical voters that he deserves a second term.
The 68-year-old Timbuktu native and veteran politician served in government with IBK during the 1990s, and has been a pillar of the political establishment for years-enough for many Malians to be wary of him.
In 2012, after the army seized power in a coup, Cisse was arrested and his home in the capital, Bamako, repeatedly ransacked by troops convinced that he had embezzled public funds. He later had to quash rumours of his involvement in corruption.