BAMAKO (Reuters): In the five years since Malians last chose a president, they’ve suffered violence from Islamist militants, Tuareg separatists, drug traffickers, ethnic vigilantes and Malian security forces. Yet when it comes to elections, power has tended to be contested peacefully in Mali and diplomatic pressure will aim to keep it that way when its citizens go to the polls on Sunday to decide whether to give President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita a second term or hand the top job to one of his rivals.
“Mali has demonstrated the capacity over the years to deliver credible and peaceful elections, among the best in the region,” Mohamed Ibn Chambas, UN Special Representative to West Africa and the Sahel region, told Reuters at his office in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. “My plea is that candidates again show high responsibility,” he added. “We cannot afford a political crisis in Mali on top of the security crisis the country is already facing.”