BAMAKO,

Mali's Constitutional Court on Wednesday rejected a legal challenge to the first round of voting in presidential elections, confirming August 12 as the date for the runoff between President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and opposition leader Soumaila Cisse.

The president of the court, Manassa Danioko, also delivered the definitive results of the July 29 first round.

FRAUD

Keita, 73, was credited with 41.7 percent of the vote, a small increase compared with 41.42 percent in the provisional results announced on August 2. Cisse picked up 17.78 percent, very slightly down compared to the 17.8 percent in the initial tally.

The three main opposition candidates on Sunday had announced they would petition the nine-member court over alleged ballot-box stuffing and other grievances.

Keita's spokesman Mahamadou Camara said the president's camp was happy with the way the election was going.

Support rallies will be held throughout the country on Thursday and Friday to push the message home, he added.

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