Mali's top court confirms Keita as presidential election winner

The decision clears the way for him to be inaugurated next month

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 10, 2018 Mali's incumbent president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita addresses his supporters during his last political rally in Bamako, ahead of the runoff vote in Mali's presidential election. - Mali's Constitutional Court on August 20, 2018 declared Ibrahim Boubacar Keita president after the 73-year-old incumbent won elections that his opponent, former minister Soumaila Cisse, 68, said were marred by fraud. (Photo by Michele CATTANI / AFP)
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Mali's constitutional court on Monday confirmed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's re-election in a run-off ballot, rejecting fraud accusations by the opposition candidate.

The decision clears the way for Mr Keita to be inaugurated next month for a second five-year term, at a time when Malian authorities are contending with rising violence by militant groups and ethnic militias.

Challenger Soumaila Cisse had contested the electoral commission result of the August 12 vote, which showed Mr Keita winning 67 per cent.

The election was tainted by armed attacks in the centre and north, where hundreds of polling stations remained closed, and a turnout of only 34 percent reflected fears of violence as well as voter apathy.

Mr Cisse says he would have won 51 per cent of the vote but for ballot box stuffing and other cheating by Mr Keita's camp. Mr Keita rejected the allegations.

The European Union observer mission and other local and international monitors said that, despite a number of irregularities and disruptions, they saw no evidence of fraud.