BAMAKO, (Xinhua): Mali’s presidential candidate Soumaila Cisse denounced electoral fraud in the July 28 election late Friday, vowing to win in the second round scheduled for Sunday.
“Unfortunately some small faults in the first round have tarnished the results. There were many interventions, not only from the candidates, in the process,” said Cisse in an interview with Xinhua at the closure of his campaign.
In the first round, the 68-year-old former prime minister and leader of the Rally for Mali (RPM) Ibrahim Boubacar Keita garnered 39.79 percent of votes, largely ahead of Cisse, former finance minister and Keita’s longtime rival who got 19.7 percent.
As no candidate secured a majority, a runoff election will be held on Sunday.
“It is regrettable, but I hail the overwhelming participation and I wish we are trying to make a much more credible second round,” Cisse told Xinhua.
The 63-year-old presidential runner-up said he found fake polling stations and alleged thrown-out ballots for him in the streets, noting that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure proper security controls of the election.
Meanwhile, Cisse noted that only half of the Malians voted in the first round, hoping the situation could improve in the second round.
Cisse said he is optimistic about the runoff, admitting that he counts on votes from the youth and women.
“Young people like the truth. I speak their language of truth because I know them, because I have lived some of what they have experienced,” he said.
Some 49 percent Malians voted on July 28. The turnout was much lower in the north plagued by the Tuareg separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), and in neighboring Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger where refugee camps house around 170,000 Malians.
The United Nations flew ballots to Mauritania on Friday in an effort to boost participation in the second round.
Keita and Cisse lost the 2002 presidential election to Amadou Toumani Toure, who was overthrown by a military coup in March 2012.