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Last week, a Malian delegation visited refugee camps in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger to identify where polling stations will be set up. The election needs to be inclusive or else reconciliation will be difficult to achieve.

Free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections are paramount for Mali’s future success. Well-trained election observers will be needed to cover almost 25,000 polling stations. A flawed election will risk the loss of international financial donors — and possibly the unleashing of the Tuaregs.

John Price is a former U.S. ambassador to Comoros, Mauritius and the Seychelles Islands. He currently serves as a resident scholar at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. He is the author of “When the White House Calls” and regularly writes commentaries on Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.