Mali votes in parliamentary election

Nov. 24, 2013 at 11:55 AM

BAMAKO, Mali, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Malians headed to the polls Sunday to vote in parliamentary elections, officials said.

A total of 6.5 million people are registered to vote in Sunday's election -- the second national election to take place in Mali this year, the BBC reported.

In August, Malians voted in a peaceful presidential election, but there has been increased violence in the country since then.

Observers say Sunday's election should be credible; however, in some northern cities, including Kidal and Tessalit, ballots only contain the party of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Opposition candidates said it was too dangerous to campaign in the north.

In 2012, Tuareg rebels working with Islamist groups linked to al-Qaida took over much of Mali's north. About 500,000 people were forced to flee their homes and President Amadou Toumani Toure was forced out of office in a coup.

The rebels controlled about two-thirds of the country until France intervened in January 2013. French troops helped Malian soldiers regain control of the country and in June, Mali and separatist rebels signed a peace agreement.

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