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EU observers of Mali’s runoff election say irregularities but no fraud

EU observers maintain that whilst there were irregularities there was not fraud, commenting on the recent runoff election in Mali between President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and opposition leader Somalia Cisse.

Mr Cisse has rejected this arguing that the results were “neither sincere nor credible” and launched a legal challenge in Mali's constitutional court alleging "ballot box-stuffing”.

The election is the first time an incumbent president in Mali has had to face a runoff election.

Mr Keita won 41 percent of the vote in the initial election in July, whilst Mr Cisse gained only 18 percent. According to the country’s electoral rules parties must obtain at least 50 percent of the vote. Given that neither party achieved this, a runoff election was triggered.

The runoff election has been marked by an unusually low voter turnout, with the Mali Citizen Observation Pool (POCIM) estimating that only 27 percent of the eight million registered voters took part. The normal voter turnout is around 40 percent. Voter apathy and unprecedented levels of violence within the region have been blamed.

Armed militants, linked to terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), attacked 644 polling stations during the initial election in July. The civil society website Malilink reported 932 attacks in the first half of 2018, almost double that for all of 2017.

The government responded by deploying 250,000 security officers to guard polling stations.

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