The Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won a landslide victory in a run-off against opposition rival Soumaila Cisse, the government said on Thursday, giving him a second term to try to turn back a surge in ethnic and Islamist militant violence.
The security situation and the militants’ ability to spread their influence to other West African countries is a concern to Western powers. Mali is also a main transit point for migrants trying to reach Europe via North Africa’s shores, a priority issue in EU capitals.
Threats by jihadists forced nearly 500 polling stations – about two per cent of the total – to stay closed during Sunday’s run-off, the Ministry for Territorial Administration said. One election official was killed in northern Niafunke, in Timbuktu region.
A crowd of about 200 people danced and sang inside Keita’s campaign headquarters after the result was announced on state television.
Tiebele Drame, Cisse’s campaign manager, said: “The result does not reflect the truth of the polls, it does not reflect the Malian vote”.
The European Union observer mission and other local and international monitors have said that although there were irregularities and disruptions, they saw no evidence of fraud. Cisse supporters were still not satisfied.
“We will take to the streets and reclaim our victory, the victory of the Malian people,” said one, named Yeri Bocoum said