Mali polls met global standards - EU

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iol pic afr APTOPIX Mali elections

Associated Press

A Tamacheq herdsman waits for election officials to check his voting card before casting his ballot in Mali's parliamentary elections in Gao. Picture: Jerome Delay

Bamako - The second round of Mali's parliamentary polls met international standards, the European Union's chief election observer in the troubled West African nation said on Monday.

Louis Michel told reporters in the capital Bamako his team had positively evaluated 98 percent of the 705 polling stations observed on Sunday.

He said the “legal framework” for the polls “remains aligned with international standards for democratic elections”.

Michel also headed the EU's observation mission for the first round on November 24 and for the presidential polls won by Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August.

The elections marked Mali's first steps to recovery after it was upended by a military coup last year and then had its northern half occupied by Islamists linked to al-Qaeda before being then liberated by a French-led military intervention launched in January.

“Nobody would have thought we could organise the return to constitutional order and the rule of law this fast,” Michel said, adding that Mali had “now found democratic conditions to allow it to reboot to assume full development, education and reconciliation”.

There were no major incidents during 10 hours of voting but polling stations reported low turnout, with voters scared away by a recent upsurge in rebel attacks against African troops tasked with securing the northern desert alongside French and Malian soldiers.

Preliminary results showed Keita's party, the Rally for Mali, had won “the lion's share” of votes in the second round, according to a member of the government's results collection committee.

Full provisional results are due to be published by Friday before being confirmed later by the constitutional court.

Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, called on “all candidates and parties involved to accept the verdict of the ballot box” in a statement released in Brussels.


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