Bamako - Mali's Ibrahim Boubacar Keita accepted his
presidential election victory late on Monday, after rival Soumaila Cisse
conceded defeat in a runoff vote that Malians hope will bring stability and
democracy to the troubled West African nation.
"You have done this not for yourself, not for me, but
for the good of Mali. Your visit was a symbol of the new Mali," Keita told
Cisse on Malian television.
Earlier in the evening, Cisse had visited former prime
minister Keita in his Bamako home to congratulate him on his second round win.
"You are my big brother, and so it is the role of the
little brother to congratulate the eldest for his victory," said Cisse,
Keita's spokesperson Mamadou Camara told dpa.
Cisse is expected to publicly announce his defeat later on Tuesday.
Although official results were not yet released, the former
finance minister conceded defeat after radio stations had broadcast partial
vote counts, showing a major lead for Keita.
Widely known by his initials "IBK," Keita won
double the number of votes as Cisse in the first round of voting on 28 July,
and received endorsements from nearly all of the other candidates from the
European and African election observers declared the
elections to be "credible and transparent".
The election is pivotal to helping Mali end a period of
instability as it attempts to recover from a military coup last year and an
Islamist insurgency that prompted France to send troops to its former colony.
France launched a military operation in January to stop the
militants from advancing towards Bamako, the capital and largest city. A UN
peacekeeping force is deploying to replace some 3 200 French troops in Mali.
Keita was the only candidate who did not criticise the March
2012 military coup and is considered to be favoured by the army.
At least $4bn in development and reconstruction aid should
now flow to Mali from the international community, which made a democratically
elected government key to unlocking the promised funds.