Almost seven millions people are eligible to vote as the ballot opens on Sunday at 8:00 local time, many amid threats and even more illiterate. Logistical problems are also present. Refugees living in the Mbere refugee camp near Bassikounou on the Mali-Mauritania border have to travel up to 18km just to vote, and the lines outside most of the 21.000 polling stations are getting bigger and bigger. Hundreds of voters have been queuing for more than an hour to cast their ballots.
Heavy security is surrounding the polls fearing an attack from the mujahideen, however, besides threats and fear among the population, millions showed up even in the northern desert town of Timbuktu, seized by al-Qaeda-linked rebels during last year’s rebellion.
President Dioncounda Traore encouraged on the eve of the elections Malians to vote for a country where the participation rate is usually around 40 percent. Traore himself is not a candidate, voters will have to choose among 27 candidates.
While waiting for the results of this awaited election, watch the report of RT on “volatile” Mali.