Mr Timmermans’ statement was a response to the favourable report by observers from the European Union, African Union and Economic Community of West African States on the second round yesterday of Mali’s presidential elections. The turnout for the second round was high by Malian standards even outside the capital, as it had been for the first round. This showed how much Malians care about the restoration of democracy, the minister said. ‘It is important that the new president has a strong popular mandate.’
The elections mark the end of a transitional period that began with the installation of an interim government, following a coup in March 2012 and the government’s loss of authority over Mali’s northern regions. The Netherlands and the international community contributed to the peace mission AFISMA and the organisation of the elections. The Netherlands and its EU partners continue to press for the implementation of reforms and the Plan for the Sustainable Recovery of Mali. ‘It is vital for the new president to set to work on this,’ said Mr Timmermans, ‘in the interests of both regional stability and the country’s own inhabitants. The Malian people deserve a better future.’
Provisional election results are expected on Wednesday. Mali is one of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and ranks 182nd out of 186 countries in the Human Development Index for 2012.