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EU calls for higher turnout in Mali runoff vote

Monday - 11/25/2013, 12:08pm  ET

Malian women walk around a polling station waiting for it to close in Mali's parliamentary elections in Gao, Northern Mali, Sunday Nov. 24, 2013. Malians trickled in to vote in legislative elections amid heavy security highlighting fears the poll could be sabotaged by rebel attacks. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- European Union observers for Mali's legislative elections say there should be a higher turnout in a runoff vote expected on Dec. 15.

More than 100 EU observers were in Mali for Sunday's vote, which was marred by scattered violence that highlighted continued instability.

The vote was the last step in restoring constitutional rule after a military coup in March 2012 allowed rebel groups to seize the country's northern half. France intervened in January to drive out the rebels, which included Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida.

Turnout on Sunday appeared lower than the presidential vote held earlier this year, though official numbers have not been released.

EU observer mission head Louis Michel said in a statement Monday that participation in the runoff was "not just a right, but a moral duty."

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