Mali held the second round of legislatives elections on Sunday with the coalition of the west African country's president expected to win a clear majority.
As in the first round on July 1, Mali voters appeared to be again proving their reputation as the world's most ballot-shy electorate. Turnout early Sunday was very light in the capital and in the main provincial cities, local journalists told AFP. Polls were to close at 1800 GMT.
Only 33 percent of eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots in the first round.
Candidates of the Alliance for Democracy and Progress, which backs President Amadou Toumani Toure, are seen as winning as many as 134 seats in the 147-seat parliament.
Toure on Sunday appealed to voters to go to the polls after casting his ballot.
He admitted that during the first round "the turnout was not to our satisfaction, especially in Bamako."
Toure said he hoped the second round vote would be better organised and that it would lead "to a much higher turnout."
Toure was re-elected for a second and final five-year term in April garnering more than 71 percent of votes cast. The opposition made charges of voting irregularities but finally accepted the results and decided to participate in the legislative polls.
The presidential bloc holds 97 seats in the outgoing parliament, while the opposition Front for Democracy and the Republic has the remaining 50.
Preparations on Saturday ahead of the vote were marred by the arrest of a man in Macina, about 240 kilometres north of Bamako, who had about 1,000 voter cards and was planning to defraud Sunday's vote, police said, without indicating which side the suspect was supporting.
In 15 years of multi-party democracy, average turnout in Mali's elections has been just 21.7 percent, according to Sweden's International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).
Mali, a former French colony with 12 million inhabitants, is one of the poorest countries in the world despite ranking third among Africa's gold producers and being one of its leading cotton exporters.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Temmuz 2007, 16:56