In Mali, a West African country once seen as a model of democracy but now in the midst of an internal conflict, presidential hopefuls are campaigning for July 28 elections that some fear are coming too soon.
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the elections should be postponed, “both because of the inadequacy of the technical preparations for the elections but also the concern that the occasion of the elections raises the possibility of terrorist attacks and very low turnout,” he said. Low turnout might detract from the legitimacy of the victor.
The leading presidential contenders are Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Soumaila Cisse, both of whom are backed by strong party machines. The less well-known Dramane Dembele is the chosen presidential candidate for Mali’s largest political party, Adema, while other candidates, including former Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe, are running mostly independently of political backing.