Fifteen Malian opposition candidates demanded on Wednesday that the government investigate what they said was fraud in Sunday’s presidential election, which was beset by armed attacks and problems with the distribution of voting cards.
No election results have yet been published by Mali’s Ministry of Territorial Administration, the only body that can legally do so. But two rivals of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita already claim to have made it into a second round.
A statement from 16 candidates — from which one later dissociated himself — complained of a huge number of electoral cards being picked up the wrong people, open vote buying, ballot box stuffing, fraudulent use of voter cards that were never picked up and unfair use of state media for Keita’s campaign.
This was Mali’s second presidential election since a 2012 coup enabled Tuareg rebels and allied Islamist fighters to take over the north, prompting French forces to intervene the following year to push them back.
Suspected Islamist gunmen have relentlessly tried to disrupt the poll in the parts of north and central Mali where they hold sway. Armed attackers shut down 644 polling stations, representing about 3 percent of the total, on the day. A fifth of all polling stations suffered some kind of disruption, figures from the Ministry of Territorial Administration showed.