Thursday, August 1, 2013

Former Prime Minister Leads in Mali Poll

Former Malian Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita holds a comfortable lead and could win an outright first-round victory in the West African nation's presidential election, according to preliminary results released by a government official. Keita's rivals immediately rejected the partial results, calling for the minister of territorial administration, who is in charge of the elections and made the statement on Tuesday, to resign and an international commission to be established to tally the vote. Voting in the polls on Sunday was peaceful and observer missions have praised the process, but tensions rose as the announcement of results neared. “There is one candidate, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has a wide margin compared with the other candidates,” Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, the minister of territorial administration, told journalists in the capital, Bamako. “If maintained, [it means] there will not be a need for a second round,” he said. The results represented a third of ballots cast from constituencies across the country, he said. Amadou Koita, spokesman for ex-Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse, who Coulibaly said was currently in second place, called the announcement “scandalous” and questioned why the minister refused to give figures to back up his statement. The election was contested by 27 candidates. Some 6.8 million people were eligible to vote at 21,000 polling stations across the country. Contributions from Al Jazeera Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page

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