Malians are preparing to vote in a runoff election that will go ahead on Sunday despite widespread allegations of fraud in the first round. The current president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, won 41% of the vote in the first round on 29 July, with Soumaila Cissé a distant second with 18%. The pool of candidates has now been reduced from 24 to two, and it is the first time an incumbent president of Mali has ever had to face a runoff. Around 250,000 people, 3% of the electorate, were unable to vote because of insecurity in central and northern Mali, and Cissé has accused Keita of stuffing ballot boxes there.
“The ballot box-stuffing explains IBK’s tallies in the north and centre,” a spokesman for Cissé told AFP when the complaint was filed, using the president’s initials as many do in Mali.
18 of the 24 candidates demanded the resignation of the electoral chief, calling the vote an “electoral hold-up”, but the constitutional court ruled on Wednesday that the runoff should go ahead, saying that most of the complaints had been received after the 48-hour deadline.