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Elections underway in Mali
July 28, 2013, 1:39 pm

Malian teenagers watch a convoy of French military vehicles pass through Gao, northern Mali [AP Images]

Malian teenagers watch a convoy of French military vehicles pass through Gao, northern Mali [AP Images]

 First round of polling in presidential elections is underway in Mali, even as French and UN troops are stationed in the country battling ‘terror’ groups.

250 officials from the West African bloc ECOWAS and 50 others from the African Union are deployed in Mali to oversee ‘fair and transparent’ elections.

6.87 million registered voters will cast their ballot in the troubled African country.

The first round of the polls opened at 0800 GMT on Sunday.

Modibo Sidibe and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, both former prime ministers are the frontrunners.

According to authorities, more than 4, 500 police officers and special forces have been delegated to oversee peaceful polls.

Mali has been in turmoil since the beginning of last year, when Tuareg separatists staged a rebellion against the government.

French President Francois Hollande has termed the Mali crisis as a terrorist threat on Europe’s doorstep.

Thousand of troops from African countries on a UN mission MINUSMA have been deployed for months in Mali to help restore law and order.

A recent poll by Pew Research has found that the jury is divided on the French intervention in Mali.

Across the six African nations polled, by almost two-to-one, a median of 41% approve of the military action, while 22% disapprove, but a significant portion of those publics (32%) offer no opinion,” said the Pew report.

 

Source: Agencies

 

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