Voters in the Mali capital Bamako celebrated by chanting ‘IBK’ – the initials of their man who is ahead in the country’s presidential election.
Partial results have given former premier Ibrahim Boubacar Keita a comfortable lead in a poll aimed at uniting the country.
Col. Moussa Sinko Coulibaly whose ministry organised the poll, informed journalists:
“The gap is important. If it is confirmed there will be no need for a second round in the July 28 presidential election. Nevertheless, everything is in place so that if there is a second round we will be ready for it on August 11.”
But with no actual figures offered, supporters of second placed, former finance minister Soumalia Cissé were outraged by the announcement.
To avoid a second round a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote.
Cissé and two other rivals of Keita have complained that thousands of people have been left off the electoral roll.
The election is the first since France sent in troops to oust al-Qaeda-linked militants from the north. Islamists had captured territory with the backing of Tuareg separatists. A UN peacekeeping force has now been deployed.