Mali’s top court rejects electoral fraud allegations

Mali’s Constitutional Court has rejected allegations of fraud in the country’s first round of presidential elections. The ruling paves the way for a second round vote on Sunday.

The Constitutional Court confirmed former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as the winner of Mali’s July 28 first round presidential vote but said that he had failed to win an outright majority.

This means Keita will face off on Sunday against the runner-up, former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse.

The court confirmed that Keita had won 39.79 percent of the vote, while Cisse had garnered 19.7 percent of the ballots. Cisse and other candidates had accused Keita’s campaign of at least a dozen instances of electoral fraud.

“We acknowledge the constitutional court’s decision with regret,” said Amadou Koita, a spokesman for Cisse’s camp. “We believe that our concerns will be taken into account and voting will take place without fraud.”

Backing of religious establishment

Keita is considered the frontrunner in Sunday’s election, having secured the endorsement of some 20 other candidates as well as influential Muslim leaders. He has run a nationalist campaign, promising to restore Mali’s dignity after a March 2012 coup threw the country into civil war.

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