Election: Malians elect their president

More than eight million voters are expected to vote in Mali on Sunday to re-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita or Soumaila Cisse, a poll held under high security and on which hovers suspicion of fraud.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a historian by training, 73 years old, is seeking a second five-year term.

He won 41.70% of the vote in the first round, against 17.78% for Soumaila Cisse, a 68-year-old engineer.

Eighteen opposition candidates, including Mr. Cisse, challenged the results of the first round of July 29. They appealed to the Constitutional Court.

The results are expected in four or five days after the closure of the vote on Sunday night.

The tension was already on Saturday with the arrest of three members of a commando called “terrorist group”.

They were trying to plan “targeted attacks in Bamako (the capital) during the weekend,” say the Malian authorities.

The winner of the presidential election will take office in September.

It will have the difficult task of relaunching the peace agreement signed in 2015 with the former Tuareg-backed rebellion, whose application is accumulating delays.

The agreement was signed after the intervention of the French army which, in 2013, had regained control of northern Mali, where jihadists had imposed sharia for a year.

Mali faces a jihadist threat despite five years of international military intervention.

In the first round, 871 offices (more than 3%) remained closed due to violence, preventing nearly 250,000 Malians from voting, especially in the center and north of the country.

This time, some 36,000 Malian soldiers are mobilized, 6,000 more on the staff deployed in the first round.

The Malian army is supported by UN peacekeepers and the French forces of Operation Barkhane.

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