Mali sets date for presidential run-off vote

A run-off vote has been scheduled for 12 August in Mali after the election on 29 July failed to produce an outright winner between President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his main rival Soumalia Cisse.

The Ministry of Territorial Administration announced on Thursday that Keita secured 41.4 percent of the vote, just shy of the required 50 percent plus for an outright win. Cisse garnered 17.8 percent of the vote.

The ministry pegged the turnout at 43 percent of the eight million registered voters, in a poll marred by claims of irregularities and attacks by suspected armed groups that may have prevented thousands from voting.

More than 18 of the 23 presidential contenders have issued a joint statement demanding that the government look into claims of electoral fraud during Sunday’s poll.

This is the second election in a row that will require a run-off vote.

Keita’s camp had been confident of winning the most votes, but had not ruled out the possibility of a second round, putting a positive spin on the poll after the results were announced.

“41 percent in the first round of an election with 24 other candidates is a performance we salute,” said spokesman Mahamadou Camara.

“We are confident for what comes next in the election.”

Growth has averaged 5 percent under the incumbent, and Mali’s key exports of gold and cotton have flourished, as have agricultural staples such as rice, but security has worsened, especially in the lead up to the vote.