Mali’s presidential election will go to a run-off poll after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita failed to get enough votes to win a second term in office outright, according to preliminary figures provided by the government. Keita won 41.4 percent of the vote in the mostly desert West African country, while rival Soumaila Cisse won 17.8 percent, the Ministry of Territorial Administration said on Thursday, four days after an election marred by accusations of fraud and attacks by suspected militants that prevented thousands from voting. With neither candidate obtaining the 50 percent required to win outright, the two will meet in a runoff vote later this month. Turnout was just over 43 percent, in line with a historical average that is the lowest in West Africa.
Keita’s camp had been confident of winning the most votes in the lead up to the count, but had not ruled out the possibility of a second round. They put a positive spin on the poll after the results were announced.
“Forty-one 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.”