The Financial Express

Mali’s president Keita confirms re-election bid

| Updated: May 31, 2018 15:32:20

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Reuters Photo. Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Reuters Photo.

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced on state TV that he would run for re-election in a poll scheduled for the end of July.

Keita, 73, had been widely expected to run for a second term, but had not confirmed his intention.

He faces growing political opposition in the capital Bamako, especially among a disaffected youth, and a raging Islamist insurgency and tit-for-tat ethnic killing in the north, reports Reuters.

“I present myself as a candidate in the presidential election of July 29,” Keita said on state TV on Monday. “I ask you to trust in me again.”

A dozen other candidates have announced their candidacy, the strongest of which is seen as opposition leader Soumaila Cisse, a former finance minister.

Rising violence across Mali has cast doubt over the feasibility of elections in some parts, especially the north, where Islamist groups have exploited chaos and lawlessness to use the desert region as a springboard for attacks.

Dozens of ethnic Tuareg and Fulani civilians have also been killed in inter-communal violence in the north, stoked by the Islamists, while insurgents have killed scores of UN peacekeepers and government soldiers.

Growth has hovered around 5 percent, owing to strong cotton and gold output, but population growth at over 3 percent has eaten into those gains. Corruption remains endemic, and Mali ranks 175 on the UN Human Development Index, only 12 up from the bottom.

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