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Mali Election Officials End Strike Three Weeks to Presidential Poll

Mali’s election officials have ended a two-week strike over alleged poor working conditions, a union said on Wednesday, easing fears ahead of the country’s presidential vote scheduled for 29 July.

The election organizers agreed to end their strike on Tuesday, paving way for the continuation of distribution of voting cards.

Malians hope the presidential poll will chart a way out of six years of political unrest and jihadist violence.

Attacks by militants had cast doubt on the government’s ability to hold the poll on time even before the officials’ strike.

Last week, militants raided the headquarters of a regional military base in central Mali, leaving at least six people dead. Four civilians were also killed on Sunday by a car bomb that targeted French troops in the north.

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The end of the strike however gives hope that the presidential vote will be held on the scheduled date, which lies less than four weeks away.

Reuters reports that an agreement between two unions and the government gave the election workers a salary raise. But secretary-general of the National Syndicate of Civil Administrators, Ousmane Christian Diarra, said officers would continue to press for more concessions.

“We have not accepted the government’s offer for bonuses and allowances, but we have agreed to suspend the strike while negotiations continue,” said Diarra.

“This is to avoid undermining the electoral process with the strike,” he added.

Mali has been dogged by conflict since Tuareg rebels and loosely allied jihadists seized its desert north in 2012, prompting French forces to intervene to push them back the following year.

Those groups have since regained a foothold in the north and centre, using the sparsely-populated Sahel as a launchpad for attacks across the region.

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Written by How Africa

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