Upcoming Presidential Election, Approved Candidates Bring Hope to War-torn Mali

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Written by Makula Dunbar

The presidential races have officially kicked in Mali off as a group of candidates were given the green light to run. Twenty-eight candidates have been cleared to run for the election scheduled for July 28, the Africa Review reported.

Eight candidates failed to meet requirements which included a deposit of CFA 10 million ($20,000) and getting the signatures of five municipal councillors in each region — and in Bamako, the capital district. In addition, potential candidates were to get signatures from 10 deputies.

The Africa Review reported that the eight disqualified candidates had 24 hours to appeal the Constitutional Court’s decision. If in the July 28 election no candidate gains a majority of votes, a second election day will take place two weeks later on Sunday, August 11.

“The campaign will open on Sunday, July 7 at midnight and close at midnight on July 26,” the cabinet draft law said, according to Aljazeera whose report also stated that Mali’s acting President Dioncounda Traore would not participate in the upcoming election.

The nation’s former democratically elected leader Amadou Toumani Touré was forced out of presidency in March 2012 when Malian soldiers and Tuareg rebels staged a coup. The United Nations peacekeeping force has recently been deployed to the country to aid in resolving tension and to secure the northern region of the country. The UN mission is hoped to also aid in rebuilding democracy — a promising structure that was met with resistance when Touré was ousted.

“We can move quickly towards the signing of an interim accord permitting the holding of the presidential election throughout the whole national territory of Mali,” Tiebile Drame, French Mali envoy said in the Aljazeera report.

Drame, rebel group and security force leaders have spoken out saying that they welcome the presidential elections. According to Aljazeera, most officials believe that opening the polls once again gives them and citizens of the nation hope that a genuine and impactful president will lead the country in a progressive direction.