Mali’s former Prime Minister Boubacar Keita has topped the poll in the first round of the presidential election but fell short of the 50 percent needed for outright victory. The election is intended to restore democracy to the West African country after 22 months of unrest.
Ex- Finance Minister Soumalia Cisse will contest the run off. He had said he would reject the result if the ballot did not go to a second round.
“The second round is something that is inevitable, taking into account everything that we have in terms of figures and what we know about the situation in Mali,” he said.
Correspondents believe the run off should ease tensions which have risen after early unofficial figures suggested Keita might win outright. The elections follow a military coup, an Islamist seizure of half the country and French military intervention.
“ This election was meant to unite people but it could take a wrong turn and increase the division and this is a danger,” said journalist Souleymane Drabo.
A record turnout 51 percent of registered voters took part in the first round of the ballot. Turnout in previous election had never hit the 40 percent mark. Mali’s constitutional court has to confirm the results of the first round before the run off can go ahead on August 11.