Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Mali awaits results in run-off vote

12 August 2013, 09:03

Bamako - Malians on Monday awaited the outcome of a presidential election run-off they hope will usher in a new dawn of stability following a military coup which upended one of the region's most stable democracies.

An electorate of almost seven million had been asked on Sunday to choose between former premier Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and ex-finance minister Soumaila Cisse to lead Mali's recovery, following last year's coup that ignited an Islamist insurgency and a French-led military intervention.

The election, the first since 2007, was crucial for unlocking more than $4bn in aid promised after international donors halted contributions in the wake of the coup.

The European Union's election observation mission was to present a report on turnout and voting conditions on Monday.

On Sunday, torrential rain affected early voting, with fewer polling stations opening on time than in the first round, when a turnout of 48.9% was seen as a key sign that the electoral process would be viewed as credible.

The rain stopped by lunchtime and AFP reporters in the capital Bamako witnessed a steady stream of voters joining queues to cast their ballots in the afternoon, but some polling station managers said their numbers were 50% down on the first round.

A network of some 2 000 independent Malian observers issued a statement welcoming the smooth running of the poll, but it noted that fewer voting booths were able to open on time in Bamako and in the southern towns of Koulikoro and Kayes.

Return to democracy

"The rain is trying to ruin our day. I hope it stops, otherwise they will have to extend the voting hours," said Oumar Toure, one of the few voters who turned up at the opening of a polling station in a city centre school.

Both Keita and Cisse have declared themselves confident of victory in the run-off, called after none of the 27 candidates in the first round achieved an outright majority.

The two men separately appealed for calm among the population in Mali's post-election recovery period after casting their ballots in Bamako.

The rivals have faced off before, losing the 2002 presidential election to Amadou Toumani Toure, who was overthrown by a military junta in March last year as he was preparing to end his final term in office.

The return to democratic rule will allow France to withdraw most of the 4 500 troops it sent to Mali in January to oust al-Qaeda-linked extremists who had occupied the north in the chaos that followed the coup, imposing a brutal regime of sharia law characterised by executions and amputations.

Keita, 68, who is considered the favourite, was more than 20 percentage points ahead of his rival in the first round.

Cisse, 63, had complained about widespread fraud in the first round, while more than 400 000 ballots from a turnout of around 3.5 million were declared spoiled.

Mali's Constitutional Court rejected the fraud allegations, however, confirming that Keita had won 39.8%, while Cisse attracted a 19.7% share.

A new start

Keita claims to have the support of most of the candidates eliminated in the first round and is backed by Mali's influential religious establishment, while Cisse has been endorsed by Adema, Mali's largest political party.

"My first priority would be the reconciliation of the country," Kei ta said Friday. "After the trauma that it has suffered, a new start is needed."

A UN peacekeeping mission integrating more than 6 000 African soldiers was charged with ensuring security on Sunday and in the months after the election. By the end of the year it will have grown to 11 200 troops and 1 400 police.

The country of more than 14 million remains the continent's third-largest gold producer, but its $10.6bn economy contracted by 1.2% last year. Widespread poverty has contributed to unrest in the north, with several armed groups vying for control in the vacuum left when the Islamists fled.

The region is home predominantly to lighter-skinned Tuareg and Arab populations who accuse the sub-Saharan ethnic groups that live in the more populous and prosperous south of marginalising them.

In the northern districts of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, polling took place in an atmosphere of calm, with reports of stronger voter turnout.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...