Presidential elections will take place on Sunday, July 29. Polling stations are scheduled to be open from 08:00 to 20:00 (local time). A total of 24 candidates will take part in the race, although incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (in office since 2013) and opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé are the two main contenders. Security measures have been heightened across the country, with over 30,000 officers mobilized to "secure candidates on the ground and voting operations" amid concerns over possible terrorist attacks. Over 80 election observers from the EU have been deployed to the country.
There is a risk of civil unrest breaking out in the capital Bamako as well as in other major cities throughout the country on election day and in subsequent days. Tensions are growing over fears of electoral fraud due to suspected discrepancies on voter lists.
The first results are expected to be released within 48 hours following the first round, and official provisional results on August 3. If necessary, a second round of voting will be held on August 12.
Many of the security concerns are due to the presence of armed extremist groups, notably in Mali's northern and central regions. These areas remain unstable despite the presence of MINUSMA, one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world, and a French-led intervention launched in 2013 that drove many extremists from their strongholds.
Individuals in Mali are advised to monitor the situation and avoid all political events and large public gatherings due to significant security concerns (e.g. unrest, risk of terrorist attack).
The security environment in Mali remains complex, particularly in the north and central regions. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
Copyright and Disclaimer