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Iran Press TV

Campaigning for Mali presidential election begins

Iran Press TV

Sun Jul 7, 2013 4:15PM GMT

Campaigning for Mali’s upcoming presidential elections, a first since the last year military coup overthrew democratically elected President Amadou Toumani Toure, has officially begun.

The Malian central government lifted the nearly six-month-old state of emergency on Saturday, aiming at restoring security and peace to the country ahead of the July 28 Presidential election.

The state of emergency was declared on January 12, a day after France launched a war in the West African country under the pretext of driving out militants occupying the north.

The lifting of the state of alert came on after a peace deal -- mediated by regional African powers, the United Nations, and the European Union -- was signed on June 18 by Mali's Territorial Administration Minister Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly and the representatives of two Tuareg movements in Ouagadougou, the capital of neighboring Burkina Faso.

The Tuareg rebels, under the signed agreement, allowed the Malian troops to enter their stronghold, the strategic city of Kidal on July 5.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised the road map to peace by both sides, saying, “The situation in Mali is of great concern... It is vital that the elections be credible and peaceful, with an outcome accepted by all Malians.”

This is while the UN peacekeeping mission is to integrate more than 6,000 West African soldiers into its ranks to keep security during and after the elections.

However, Mali’s election commission has expressed its concerns over the insecurity, saying it is not sure whether the country is ready to hold election on July 28, as some 500,000 Malians were driven out of their homes following the conflict.

Former government peace negotiator Tiebile Drame, also a presidential candidate, also said the government is not “ready” for the elections and has called for a delay.

Mali’s constitutional court released a list of 26 candidates on July 5, including four of the former prime ministers and one female candidate.


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