Norway applauds Mali for peaceful election process
OSLO, Norway, July 31, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Norway applauds the people of Mali for the peaceful conduct of the first round of its presidential elections. After a period of conflict there is a great need for stable governance to ensure further development.
Norway and international observers report that the poll on 28 July proceeded peacefully. Norway has provided NOK 40 million to support the election process through the UN.
Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås commented, “The people of Mali deserve a government with greater legitimacy to promote reconciliation efforts between north and south. It is very positive that the election has proceeded peacefully, with a high turnout. However there have also been clear shortcomings. For example many displaced people have not been able to vote. Further on, it is important that the votes are properly counted so that the results are respected.”
The count should be completed by Friday. It will then be clear whether one of the 28 presidential candidates has gained more than 50 % of the votes and can be declared president without the need for another round of voting. International and Malian observers have been posted to most of the constituencies, but threats from Islamists in the north-eastern Kidal region made it impossible for international observers to monitor the election in northern Mali.
Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide commented, “Mali has a long way to go. But a credible presidential election process is an important step in the right direction. Norway will support Mali as it moves forward, for example by contributing military and police officers to the UN force in the country.”
Norway has decided to send up to 20 officers to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali (MINUSMA) to help stabilise the country. Norway has also allocated around NOK 80 million in aid to Mali for this year. This is part of a significant Norwegian aid effort in the Sahel region.