Malians await court's decision

Ten days after presidential elections, Malians were still awaiting the pronouncement of final results by the Constitutional Court. Several parties that took part in the polls have asked the Court to nullify the results of the first round of presidential elections on grounds of fraud.

The court's verdict was expected in the coming days, although there was no time limit to when it could make a pronouncement, a senior official of the National Independent Electoral Commission told IRIN on Tuesday.

Provisional results released by the Ministry of Territorial Administration on Friday showed former army general Amadou Toumani Toure and Soumaila Cisse of the ruling ADEMA respectively qualifying for the second round by winning 27.98 percent and 22.74 percent of votes cast. They beat 22 other candidates in the 28 April poll.

However several parties have disputed the results and filed complaints before the Constitutional Court, citing fraud and various irregularities and asking it to annul the results, sources in the capital Bamako told IRIN on Tuesday.

The complaints allege that the poll was marred by insufficient ballots and other voting material, delayed opening of polls and omissions from voting lists. BBC quoted presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who placed third in the first round, as saying that there was "massive and systematic" vote-rigging. Sources at the ministry have however denied the charges although they acknowledged a few "minor mistakes".

Should the court, which is mandated to pronounce the definitive results, confirm the provisional results, Toure and Cisse would head to a second round on 12 May. It was not immediately clear what would happen if the court upheld the petition by the plaintiffs.

In the days since the allegations of fraud have emerged, the streets of Bamako have remained calm and trouble-free, the sources said.