DAKAR — Malians are still waiting for the government to announce full provisional results from Sunday's presidential poll. The presidency says the announcement has been delayed until Friday, the day by law when the results are due.
However, several candidates have already denounced partial results released earlier this week as fraudulent. Authorities said those partial results indicate a likely first-round victory for former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
The minister of territorial administration, charged with announcing results, said Tuesday that candidate Soumaila Cisse was in second place among the 27 candidates but that candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is likely to win the election in the first round.
The minister, Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, said authorities were still verifying the vote counts from the country's 21,000 polling stations but had received results from nearly all of them.
Keita and Cisse were the frontrunners heading into the vote.
Each polling station must post its vote count publicly, so the candidates have been doing their own tallies as well.
Cisse's URD party says a first-round victory, by their counts, is simply not possible.
The candidate's spokesman, Madou Diallo, said by our counts, there must be a second round. We are also sure that our candidate won in many of the interior regions of the country. He said the capital, Bamako, is important. It is 15 percent of voters, but he says winning the capital does not win the election. He said our lawyers also noted several voting irregularities in Bamako, and we are going to pursue this as laid out by law.
The URD party says "ballot stuffing" was among those irregularities.
Once final provisional results are announced, candidates will have one week to contest results before the Constitutional Court.
Despite a crunched electoral timeline and numerous issues with the voter list, Sunday's election set a new record in Mali for voter turnout. The government said 53.5 percent of the country's nearly 7 million registered voters cast their ballots.
International observer missions have certified the election as free and fair and said organizational issues they noted were minor and would not undermine the credibility of results.
Malians hope this election will turn the page on 18 months of unprecedented crisis and conflict that included a Tuareg rebellion, a military coup and an Islamist takeover of the north last year.