Mali's President, Ex-Finance Minister to Contest Runoff Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and a former finance minister will contest a runoff vote on Aug. 12 in the country’s presidential elections after no candidate secured a majority in the first round.

Keita secured 41.4 percent of ballots cast in the July 29 election and his main opponent, Soumaila Cisse, obtained 17.8 percent, the Ministry of Territorial Administration said in a statement on Thursday. Turnout was 43 percent of the more than 8 million registered voters, according to the ministry.

“We are content to come out ahead,” Mahamadou Camara, Keita’s spokesman, said by phone on Friday. “Now we need to convince the Malians who are still undecided to come out and vote in the second round.”

The 73-year-old Keita is seeking a second term after winning by a landslide against Cisse in 2013, months after a French military intervention pushed back Tuareg separatists and Islamist insurgents who had seized the north of the country. Five years on, a French military force that hunts down jihadists in the region hasn’t been able to stop al-Qaeda-affiliated militants from killing scores of United Nations peacekeepers and Malian troops.

Cisse, 68, an ex-president of the West African Monetary Union Commission, said the results were not credible.

“These are the results of fraud,” Cisse said in a statement issued by his campaign on Friday. “They are the fruits of gross irregularities and deliberate violations of electoral law.”

Regional election observers said the vote proceeded on time and peacefully across most of the country, even though gunmen burned ballots and threatened members of the public and staff at some stations in the center and north. Voting didn’t take place at 716 out of about 23,000 polling stations, according to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga.

The Constitutional Court has three days to validate the results.

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