BAMAKO, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- The head of the African Union electoral observation mission in Mali, Edem Kodjo, urged on Saturday Malians to turn out massively in the coming presidential run-off while reiterating "no abnormality" in the first round of the poll.
Kodjo said he hopes the Malian people would go to vote "as massively as possible" to secure their favorite candidate.
"Go to the ballot box, go there massively, because what will take place tomorrow directly concerns their own future," said Kodjo in an interview with Xinhua.
Mali, one of the world's poorest countries, has suffered turmoil for nearly 17 months since a military coup and awaits with enthusiasm Sunday's run-off to elect a new president.
Around 6.8 million voters among the country's 15 million people will cast their ballots at around 25, 000 polling stations at 8:00 a.m. local time.
Almost one out of every two have cast their vote in the first round, making a relatively high turnout rate in the Malian history. But Kodjo said the Malian should do even better "so that all citizens express their positions in this election".
The top two runners, former Prime Minister Ibrahima Boubacar Keita and former Finance minister Soumaila Cisse, will face off against each other.
Talking about the alleged frauds and irregularities, Kodjo said the observers so far "have found nothing abnormal" while calling on the candidates to show responsibility and exhorted all voters to refrain from falling into the trap of "searching for abnormality where there is none" .
"I do not think the Constitutional Court has noted anything abnormal or irregular as enunciated by others. It means that the election has been rather properly organized and all that we have said remain valid," Kodjo said.
Cisse on Saturday complained about fraud, saying many interventions "have tarnished the results", but his allegations were rejected by the Mali's Constitutional Court.
The AU observers will be at polling stations on Sunday. Their mission covers the south of Mali where about 90 percent of the nation's population live.
In the first round, Keita garnered 39.79 percent of votes followed by Cisse with 19.70 percent.
Seen by many as being close to the people, Keita, better known as "IBK" for his initials, enjoys assets of rich political experiences, good relations with the religious and military circles, as well as wide connections with other leaders in Africa.
Cisse presents himself as a spokesman of the new generation. His campaign meeting struck a festival tone as usual, gathering a large crowd of happily chanting and applauding young people.
Kodjo urged the two contestants to "face each other properly in the evening of the second round and the next day of the definitive results", adding the aim of having an election is that the country goes better afterwards.
Following the coup by low-ranking officers who overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure in March 2012, the desert north of the country was rendered a security vacuum. Ethnic Tuareg rebels, who have long sought autonomy, took control of the vast region.
As the rebels kept pushing towards the south, the Malian authorities of transition in January had to ask for French military intervention and help from other African countries. Although the rebels have been defeated, the country is facing all the post-war challenges.
"It will be the time that we start this (reconstruction) job, which is a fundamental job, for Mali, for neighboring countries, for all the Economic Community of Western African States," Kodjo said.
BAMAKO, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Mali, one of the world's poorest countries, has suffered turmoil for nearly 17 months and awaits with enthusiasm Sunday's presidential run-off to elect a new president. Full story
BAMAKO, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- The president of Mali's National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), Mamadou Diamoutani, is urging the two contestants in Sunday's presidential run-off, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Soumaila Cisse, to accept the outcome from the ballot box. Full story