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Mali dismisses candidates for fraud in elections

Source: Reuters - Wed, 1 Jan 2014 11:56 PM
Author: Reuters
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A woman casts her vote during the parliamentary election in Lafiabougou, Bamako November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Adama Diarra
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* Three districts affected by court ruling

* President Keita's RPM party remains overall winner

BAMAKO, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Mali dismissed candidates from three constituencies for stuffing ballot boxes in a parliamentary election meant to complete the country's transition to democracy after a 2012 army coup.

The West African country's constitutional court was flooded with complaints of electoral fraud from rival parties following the first round of legislative elections in November.

A total of nine candidates on lists for the constituencies Nara, Niono et Gao were affected, the court said late on Tuesday.

The dismissals did not change the overall outcome which granted a victory for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's (IBK) RPM party, with 67 of a total 147 seats in Parliament.

Adema, the RPM's main ally, finished second with 16 seats.

The confirmation of the final results is due to unlock $3.25 billion of donor pledges to rebuild the West African country after Islamists seized control of the north in the coup's aftermath.

France sought to drive out the al Qaeda-linked fighters a year ago in a military intervention, helping to clear the way for elections.

Since his election in August, President Keita has struggled to exert control over the lawless northern region where some Islamic militants remain active and have launched attacks.

In the latest indication of the ongoing security challenges, two rockets were fired on Wednesday and landed next to the northern city of Kidal's airport but failed to explode, according to a resident.

France has 2,800 troops stationed in Mali but aims to reduce its military presence to 1,000 by February as it hands security responsibilities to the Malian army and a U.N. force. The U.N. mission, launched in July, is still at roughly half its planned level of 12,600 members.

(Reporting by Adama Diarra; Writing by Emma Farge in Dakar; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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