Arsène Brice Bado

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People look for their names on the electoral list at a polling station Monday in Bamako, Mali. Mali’s presidential polls open Sunday in the first round of voting. (Luc Gnago/Reuters)

On Sunday, the first round of Mali’s presidential election will take place. Tensions are high: Political parties have failed to agree on some fundamental issues that could negatively affect voting operations, and there is growing dissatisfaction over the government’s record on security.

The poor security context and the high polarization of political parties mean the election faces several challenges:

1. Security is a huge concern

Central and northern Mali have been shaken by violence for years, but there has been an uptick in recent months. A U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum report in April warned that armed groups are vying for power in a “vacuum of state authority.”

On Wednesday, just days before the election, the central city of Timbuktu was crippled by armed Arab protesters.…  Seguir leyendo »