Malian opposition candidate Soumaila Cisse said on Monday he would reject the results of a presidential runoff marred by accusations of fraud, violence and low turnout, calling on the population “to rise up.”
Ballot counting was underway on Monday across the vast West African country after a vote which saw one poll worker killed and hundreds of stations closed due to insecurity.
“The fraud is proven, this is why there are results we will not accept,” Cisse said at his party’s headquarters in Bamako.
“I call on all Malians to rise up.We will not accept the dictatorship of fraud,” he added.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, is the clear frontrunner in a reprise of his 2013 faceoff against former finance minister Cisse, 68.
But Cisse’s team and other opposition contenders have repeatedly accused the government of fraud, including ballot-box stuffing and vote buying.
Nearly 500 polling stations were unable to open on Sunday, the government said, mostly in regions plagued by jihadist violence and ethnic tension.
“We had a little over 3.7% of stations which had not functioned properly” during the first round on July 29, Salif Traore, Mali’s security minister, said on Monday.
The figure fell to 2.1% of the 23,000 polling booths in Sunday’s runoff vote, which Traore said was due to the deployment of 36,000 Malian military, a 20% increase on the first round.
In a reminder of the jihadist threat that was a major campaign issue, the overseer of a polling station in Arkodia, in the northern region of Timbuktu, was shot dead on Sunday by armed Islamist militants, local officials said.
Aside from this “dramatic case,” the government said the poll has occurred without incidents.
The European Union also said in 300 polling stations its observers visited, no “major incident” occurred.
The EU observers’ mission deployed monitors in the northern town of Gao, but not in Timbuktu or Kidal, also in the north, or to Mopti in the centre.