Mali

Threat of Terrorist Attacks Threatening Upcoming Election in Mali

High turnout unlikely

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BAMAKO: Mali is hoping against the odds for credible July 28 presidential elections but crucial barriers to an acceptable voter turnout and the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks are casting a long shadow over preparations.

The polls are seen as vital to reuniting the country after a March 2012 military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamist rebels who captured the entire north before being flushed out by French and African troops.

But the timing of the vote has raised logistical issues that critics feel have not been addressed and many have warned that a botched election could be more damaging for Mali's fragile roadmap to peace than no election at all.

Chief among the problems highlighted by observers is the slim chance of a decent turnout, a prerequisite for a result that will be accepted by a nation still riven with deep divisions after the coup.