Mali has been voting in parliamentary elections – the second time the country has been to the polls since France intervened this year to oust al Qaeda linked militants in the north.
Security was tight as a slow trickle of voters cast their ballots. The turn out appeared lower than in August’ when President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was elected.
The Governor of Timbuktu, Mamadou Mangara said things appeared to have gone well.
Since August Mali has seen an upsurge in violence suggesting that Islamists and Tuareg separatists still have a hold in some areas. But international election monitors remained up beat.
“I’m not sure that many would have bet on a return to normality in such a short time. Actually it’s not quite a return to normality yet, there are still important challenges ahead, on a political level, on a social level and on an economic level, but they can’t be avoided,” said the European Union’s chief election observer, Louise Michel.
The election of a new parliament will complete the democratic transition in the wake of last year’s coup. Analysts expect Keita and his allies to win comfortably.