BAMAKO, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Mali on Sunday peacefully held the first round of the presidential elections across the entire national territory without any major incidents, yet Malian political class divided after the first round of polls.
Immediately after the closure of the polling stations, supporters of the candidate for Rally for Mali (RPM), Ibrahima Boubacar Keita commonly referred to as IBK, rushed to the streets to celebrate what they considered to be a "clear victory for their candidate."
"Based on the results coming from the polling stations in Bamako as well as from the interior regions and outside of Mali, our candidate is far ahead of the rest of his rivals," said Djibril Diallo, a youth supporting RPM.
Everywhere, it is the same spirit being exhibited by IBK's supporters in the streets as well as in the social places.
However, the supporters of the candidates who are members of the United Front for Safeguarding Democracy and the Republic (FDR), a grouping of political parties and civil society organizations that was created after the March 22, 2012 coup to oppose the military junta, insisted that official results had not been released yet.
"The results showing that IBK has won are results which have not yet been validated by the institutions involved in the electoral process. The objective of his supporters is to sow doubt and confusion among our fellow citizens," a supporter of FDR which had four candidates during the July 28 elections said.
The four candidates include Soumaila Cisse of URD, Modibo Sidibe of FARE, Jeamille Bittar of UMAM and Dramane Dembele of ADEMA, all of whom are claiming that they will take part in the second round.
"Technically, the publication of results just two hours after the closure of the polling stations is not possible in Mali. That means that there was manipulation. That has never happened in Mali during elections," said Cisse, the candidate for the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD).
This is what we are condemning and it's what we should continue to denounce, Cisse said, and said that "a second round is inevitable in Mali. We know the political forces in this country since 1992."
It is within this confusing environment that Malians, especially those in the camps of IBK and Cisse, are waiting for the provisional results of the July 28 presidential elections.
The transition authorities have continued to urge Malians "to remain calm and peaceful" and "to be patient."
The director for territorial administration, Bassidi Coulibaly, said on Monday night that "we should wait between now and Friday for the provisional results that will be announced by the territorial administration ministry."
Malian political analysts have urged the country's politicians to do everything possible to ensure that Mali does not descent into post-election crisis.
"After the suffering of many of its citizens, especially those in the northern parts of the country during the recent political crisis, Mali does not deserve another political crisis," many of the analysts said.
The same appeal was made a day before the elections by several women and religious organizations in the country.
On July 28, Malians went to the polling stations to cast their votes for the first round of the presidential elections, to elect the third president of Mali's Third Republic.
The election is expected to enable the country to end a political crisis that has been witnessed for over one and half years.
The crisis had threatened the existence of the nation given the occupation of more than half of the country by armed groups and terrorists.
Speaking after casting his vote, Mali's Interim President Dioncounda Traore said "since the time country gained independence in 1960, it had never witnessed such a massive turn out of voters in any of the previous elections."
The massive turn out was also hailed by all the national and international electoral observers.
The observers include the NGO Network for Supporting Electoral Process in Mali (APEM), a grouping of 52 associations and NGOs that was created in 1996 and led by Ibrahima Sangho, and the observer mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by former Ghanaian President John Kufuor.
Others include the African Union (AU) observer mission led by Edem Kodjo and that from the International Organization of the Francophonie, among others.
Besides the massive turn out that has been praised by majority of the people, another issue that has dominated the political debates in Mali is whether there will be a second round of voting or not.
Photo >>> Mali's leading presidential candidates head for run-off on Aug. 11
IBK, Cisse to contest in Mali's Aug. 11 run-off
BAMAKO, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The two leading candidates in the first round of Mali's presidential elections, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) and Soumaila Cisse, are heading for the run-off set for Aug. 11, the Territorial Administration Ministry announced on Friday.
IBK of the Rally for Mali (RPM) won 39.24 percent of the votes accounted after the July 28 elections, against 19.4 percent obtained by Cisse of the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) . Full story
News Analysis: IBK takes lead with "wide margin" in Mali's presidential polls
BAMAKO, July Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Mali's former prime minister and ex-speaker of parliament Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, commonly known as IBK, is leading with "a wide margin" against his closest challenger Soumaila Cisse, according to Mali's Territorial Administration Minister Moussa Sinko Coulibaly. Full story
AU says Mali's presidential polls free, fair
BAMAKO, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) observer mission has declared Mali's presidential elections a free and fair vote conducted in transparent conditions.
The head of the observer mission, Edem Kodjo, On tuesday congratulated the Malian people for coming out in large numbers and behaving in a responsible manner during the July 28 presidential elections. Full story
Photo >>> Mali beefs up security ahead of 2nd round of presidential polls
Photo >>> Mali's Territorial Administration Minister addresses media in Bamako