Amidst fear and insecurity, Mali gears up for a second runoff between Keïta and Cissé on August 12

  • August 10, 2018

On July 29, 2018, 43.06% citizens of Mali came out to vote for their candidate in a Presidential election that was marred by incidents of violence. Incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is seeking a second term, received 41.4% vote. Mail opposition leader and former finance minister Soumaïla Cissé, who obtained 17.8% vote, cried foul, alleging fraud in the first round of elections.

Businessman Aliou Boubacar Diallo and former Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra finished third and fourth respectively. None of the candidates was able to secure the 50% threshold required to win the election.

18 out of the 22 candidates protested that they would not accept the results tainted by irregularities. However, Mali’s Constitutional Court rejected the legal challenge to the first round of voting in the presidential election and scheduled the second runoff for August 12.

Since the announcement of the second run-off, Soumaïla Cissé has been pulling all the stops and urging the 22 candidates eliminated in the first round to create a “broad democratic front against fraud and for political change”.

However, the two main candidates have refused to rally behind any of the frontrunners.

“Neither IBK (Keita) nor Soumi (Cisse) corresponds with our political ideal. I will not support one or the other. Each person who voted for me is free to vote for whom they wish,” Diarra, who won seven percent in the first round, told supporters in the capital, Bamako.

Diallo told his followers that it was “to Malians that I leave the responsibility of expressing themselves as they wish in the second round.”

On Sunday, Malians will decide the fate of the two leaders. Though, according to observers, the voter turnout may decrease in the second runoff due to insecurity and fear of violence from the extremist groups.

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