Violence, Rocket Attacks, Threats Mar Mali Presidential Election

Officials in Mali are counting the votes from Sunday’s presidential election, marred by violence, rocket attacks, threats and suspected fake polling places.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is seeking a second term. Twenty-four other candidates are challenging him.

Voter turnout was reported to be light across much of Mali, including the capital, Bamako. Only about half the voters in two regions received voter cards, meaning more than 800,000 people may have been unable to cast ballots.

Voting was briefly suspended in a northern village after militants fired rockets at a nearby United Nations mission camp. No one was injured.

In several other villages, election officials were beaten up, ballot boxes burned and armed groups stopped election supervisors from entering polling stations.

Some candidates and European election monitors also reported fake voting stations were set up in several spots and took steps to warn voters against them.

The international community is hoping for an overall successful presidential election in Mali. A positive outcome would help solidify a peace agreement between the government, pro-government forces and former Tuareg rebels in combating Islamic extremists in the largely lawless north.

Initial results of Sunday’s vote are expected later this week with a final result coming by Friday.

If no one wins more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff is scheduled for August 12.

Source: Voice of America