Most legislative races in Mali heading to a runoff following first round marred by low turnout

Officials say the vast majority of Mali's 147 parliamentary seats will be decided in a runoff next month following a first-round vote on Sunday that was marred by weak turnout and scattered violence.

The Ministry of Territorial Administration announced provisional results Wednesday night, reporting turnout of 38 percent — lower than the presidential contest in July and August.

The vote was intended to restore constitutional rule after a March 2012 military coup allowed rebel groups including Islamic extremists aligned with al-Qaida to take over northern Mali. France launched a military intervention in January to drive out the rebels.

Among the few races decided in the first round was the seat representing the northern city of Kidal, which went to a supporter of Mali's new government despite strong separatist sentiment there.