Mali presidential poll mostly peaceful – UN

Mali on map
Mali on map [Photo Credit: Operation World]

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations said that Sunday’s presidential election in Mali was conducted in most part of the country in a peaceful manner.

The UN department said it hoped that the vote tally would be held in a transparent manner leading to results acceptable by all.

Incumbent President Ibrahim Keïta is seeking a second and final five-year term.

There are 23 other presidential candidates, including Soumaila Cisse who faced him in a run-off in the last election, former Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe, Dramane Dembele, retired Brig.-Gen. Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, and a woman candidate, Djeneba N’Diaye.

About eight million people were eligible to vote in the election and a candidate must get more than 50 per cent of the vote to win. If not, a run-off would be held between the two candidates with the most votes, while the winner of the run-off only needs a simple majority.

However, a number of violent incidents and other difficulties prevented voting from taking place in 644 of 4,632 polling stations in the north and centre of the country, according to the government.

In addition, the UN Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) reported that on Sunday afternoon, unidentified armed men launched 10 mortar shells against the MINUSMA camp in Aguelhok, Kidal Region.

It said no casualties or damage was reported as a MINUSMA Quick Reaction Force and other security personnel already patrolling outside the city were dispatched to the area.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the country had been providing logistical support to the government, especially in the restive north and centre, where an alliance of militant Islamists and Tuareg rebels have been launching attacks with increasing frequency and ferocity against government troops and UN peacekeepers.

When Mr Keïta was elected in 2013, his administration replaced a transitional government which had wrested back control – with international support – of the outlying regions following a failed coup, that saw the iconic and ancient city of Timbuktu occupied by militants.

Dozens of UN peacekeepers have made the ultimate sacrifice defending Mali’s fragile recovery in recent years.
On Friday, the head of UN mission, Mahamat Annadif, said that while tensions were high and the threat of attacks persisted, the result had to be respected if democratic rule was to be viewed as “irreversible”.

The mission has been providing transportation to candidates, training and support for officials involved in the democratic process, and distributed 200 tonnes of electoral material, mainly to remote areas where the political process is most vulnerable to abuse, and voters are most likely to feel intimidated going to the polls.


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