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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-18

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has consolidated his power in the west African nation as results from the second round of legislative elections revealed his party and its allies won a comfortable majority of seats in parliament.

Keita’s Rally for Mali (RPM) party and its partners claimed 115 of the 147 seats in the national assembly in Sunday’s ballot, according to provisional results announced by Mali's government on Tuesday.

The Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD), whose candidate Soumaila Cissé came in second during Mali’s presidential elections in August, appeared to have won between 17 and 19 seats in the new parliament.

The results will allow Cissé to become leader of the opposition.

The election marked Mali's return to democracy after a coup last year plunged the country into chaos.

Al Qaeda-linked Islamists took advantage of the power vacuum to occupy half the country’s territory, which was only regained after France launched a military intervention in January.

Low turnout

European Union election observers said Monday that the parliamentary polls met international standards, while EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Malians to "accept the verdict of the ballot box."

While there were no serious incidents during 10 hours of voting on Sunday, the election was somewhat tarnished by low 37.2% turnout – a drop on the 38.6% recorded in the first round.

Many voters appeared to have stayed away because of a recent spike in rebel attacks against African troops tasked with election security.

On Monday UN peacekeepers in the troubled Malian city of Kidal opened fire on Tuareg rebels and on civilians, injuring two people, according to residents.

The violent incident followed a suicide attack over the weekend that killed two peacekeepers, and overshadowed the parliamentary poll.

Full provisional results are due to be published by Friday before being confirmed later by the constitutional court.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

Date created : 2013-12-18

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