Kufuor Tours Polling Stations As Mali Elections Open

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor on Sunday toured some polling stations in Bamako, Mali, as the landmark elections of that country to elect a President after the overthrow of the previous government of President Amadou Toumani Toure in a military coup last year. Former President Kufuor is in Bamako at the head of a 250-member Observer Mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the elections. Accompanied by Mr. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission and Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini-Suleiman, voting in most places they visited started on time and were progressing smoothly. Voting materials and electoral officers in some polling stations arrived late but the general conduct of the people who had formed orderly queues as well as the party agents were calm. Polling started at 0800 hours and is expected to close at 1800 hours. About seven million voters who were biometrically registered and issued with identification cards called NINA cards, are choosing from a field of 27 candidates for the next president of Mali to replace interim President General Dinocounda Traore. General Traore who took office about six months ago after the ouster of the rebel insurgency by international forces, is not taking part in the elections as part of the interim arrangements. Former President Kufuor arrived in the Malian capital last Wednesday, July 24, 2013, has held talks with key stakeholders in the election, including, General Traore, and former President Alpha Konare. He has also held talks with the Minister of Territorial Administration who is in charge of organizing the elections, the head of Independent National Electoral Commission, which is charged with supervising the conduct of the elections and the Delegate-General of the Elections whose outfit was charged with the registration exercise. The Former President has also held talks with some Presidential candidates in the elections. Results are expected in three days.