European Union observers on Tuesday disclosed that they saw irregularities during Mali’s presidential run-off.
Although the observers revealed although there were irregularities, there was no fraud in spite of opposition accusations that President Ibrahim Keita’s camp cheated.
Results from Sunday’s second round between Keita and opposition leader Soumaila Cisse have not yet been released but Cisse called on his supporters on Monday to challenge Keita’s expected victory.
Cisse has not provided concrete evidence for his accusations and Keita has denied any wrongdoing.
Cisse also said fraud-marred last month’s first round, but the constitutional court upheld the results.
Mali is a major concern for Western powers due to the presence of militant groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.
“The vote generally took place calmly, despite security incidents in the center and north,” EU mission head Cecile Kyenge told newsmen in the capital Bamako.
“Our observers did not see fraud but problems of irregularities,” she said, citing threats by armed groups and a lack of communication between election officials.
In all, security issues prevented nearly 500 polling stations – about two percent of the total – from opening, according to Malian authorities.
EU observers did not deploy to some regions in the north and center due to repeated attacks there by
jihadist groups and ethnic militia this year that have killed hundreds of civilians, Malian
troops and UN peacekeepers.
A Malian observer group estimated turnout for the second round at only about 27 per cent of the eight
million registered voters due to security fears and voter apathy.
Keita won the first round with about 41 per cent of the vote in spite of his government’s failure to
slow the surging violence.