Supporters of opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé are marching in the capital Bamako as of Thursday late afternoon (local time), August 16, to protest the announced victory of incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta after the results of the August 12 runoff election were released earlier in the day. Participants are reportedly marching in the Hamdallaye and ACI 2000 neighborhoods of Bamako, with known gathering points at Cissé's campaign headquarters in ACI 2000 and the Constitutional Court. According to local sources, a significant security deployment is on the streets, concentrated around the Constitutional Court, where water cannons are also in place. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces are possible.
On August 13, Cissé alleged that the runoff should be invalidated due to widespread fraud and announced that he would reject the official results. Cissé also called on his supporters to "rise up" and reject a Keïta win. After a provisional vote tally was announced on August 16, the opposition announced that it will file an appeal with the Constitutional Court challenging the results; the Constitutional Court has until August 22 to validate the results. Election observers have judged the election to have been fair overall, despite some irregularities and low voter turnout (34.4 percent) due to serious security concerns and general voter apathy.
The first round of voting was held on July 29 among 24 candidates; as no candidate received the required 50 percent, a runoff was called between the two front-runners, President Keïta of the Rally for Mali party and Cissé of the Union for the Republic and Democracy party.
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