18 December 2013

Mali: Party of President, Keita, Wins Parliamentary Election

The party of Mali's president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and its allies have won the country's recent parliamentary elections, according to provisional results. The polls marked Mali's complete return to democracy.

Malian elections officials said Wednesday that Keita's Rally for Mali party had won the the second round of parliamentary elections on December 15 , gaining 60 of the 147 seats in parliament, according to provisional results.

Together with its junior partners, it has 115 seats, Minister of Territorial Administration Moussa Sinko said on state television.

Opposition party Alliance for Democracy in Mali won 21 seats, followed by Union for the Republic and Democracy with 17 seats.

The constitutional court is expected to announce final results within the next few days, and the result is only official after its confirmation by the court.

Sinko told reporters in the capital, Bamako, that only 37.4 per cent of Mali's 6 million eligible voters took part in the second round of the polls. That is down from the already low turnout of 38.6 per cent achieved in the first round on November 24 .

Upsurge in rebel attacks

Many voters are thought to have stayed away for fear of rebel attacks against African troops tasked with election security alongside French and Malian soldiers.

Two Senegalese UN peacekeepers were killed and seven wounded on Saturday after a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a bank they were guarding in the northeastern rebel stronghold of Kidal.

Another reason for the low turnout is being seen as election fatigue, with the latest poll being the fourth nationwide ballot in less than five months.

December's election marked the completion of Mali's return to democracy, after a coup last year threw the country into political disarray and al Qaeda-linked Islamists took over its northern half. The Islamists were driven from power by a French-led military intervention launched in January.

The European Union's chief election observer in Mali, Lousi Michel, has said the "legal framework" for the polls was "aligned with international standards for democratic elections."

Previous elections have been marred by accusations of widespread fraud.

Mali still faces the challenge of reviving its stagnant economy and quelling ethnic tensions in the north .


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