Mali constitutional court upholds election results

August 20, 2018 - 9:28 am

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali's constitutional court on Monday confirmed the re-election of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to a second five-year term.

The court said Keita received 67 percent of the Aug. 12 runoff vote, beating opposition leader Soumaila Cisse who received more than 32 percent.

There was a 34 percent voter turnout, the constitutional court said, with more than 2.7 million Malians having voted despite threats by extremist groups.

Constitutional Court President Manassa Danioko rejected motions filed by the opposition party last week against results. He said there is not enough evidence of fraud to nullify the results.

Keita is to be inaugurated Sept. 4 for his second and final term.

"I am shocked by this decision," said Zeidane Ag Sidalamine, spokesman for Cisse. "The court did not accept any of our requests. We are waiting for a copy of the court's judgment to see what steps need to be taken."

Cisse, who also faced Keita in a second round in 2013, said Friday he rejected the results and that he won the election. His party last week called on supporters to demonstrate. Cisse has blamed Keita for corruption and increased insecurity since he took office in 2013.

"This is a victory for Mali," said Mahamadou Camara, Keita's spokesman. "President Keita has the confidence of Malians to continue his development projects."

Keita took power the year after a military coup ushered in an era of chaos that allowed the extremists to flourish before French-backed forces pushed extremists from their northern strongholds.

However, extremists linked to both al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have been staging more brazen attacks that have spread into central Mali. Deadly communal clashes between ethnic groups and accusations of heavy-handed counterterror operations have caused even deeper tensions and mistrust of the government.

Several incidents of violence took place on Aug. 12 voting day in northern and central Mali, according to the Citizen Observation Pool of Mali, which had more than 2,000 observers. A number of polling stations were burned, and they reported the killing of a village chairman and the harassment of at least four election workers.

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