Mali’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday rejected a legal challenge to the first round of voting in presidential elections, confirming August 12 as the date for the runoff between President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and opposition leader Soumaila Cisse.
The president of the court, Manassa Danioko, also delivered the definitive results of the July 29 first round.
Keita, 73, was credited with 41.7 percent of the vote, a small increase compared with 41.42 percent in the provisional results announced on August 2. Cisse picked up 17.78 percent, very slightly down compared to the 17.8 percent in the initial tally.
The three main opposition candidates on Sunday had announced they would petition the nine-member court over alleged ballot-box stuffing and other grievances.
Keita’s spokesperson Mahamadou Camara said the president’s camp was happy with the way the election was going.
Support rallies will be held throughout the country on Thursday and Friday to push the message home, he added.
Meanwhile, a member of Cisse’s entourage said the constitutional court’s decision was “no surprise”.
“We will continue to denounce the clear fraud in the first round”, he said, calling on the “majority” in favour of change to mobilise and rally.
The Cisse camp also called on the international community to “assume its responsibilities in the face of this electoral hold-up”.
The second round will see a rerun of the 2013 elections, which Keita won with more than 77 percent of the vote.
Mali is a linchpin state in the Sahel, a sprawling, poor region that has been wracked by jihadism, ethnic attacks and crime. The international community is hoping the outcome of the poll will strengthen a 2015 peace accord.
The government on Monday published a list of 871 polling stations which were unable to operate during the first round due to outbreaks of violence.
Almost a quarter of a million people — mainly in northern Timbuktu region, central Mopti and Segou in the south — “were unable to vote for various reasons,” it said.