News Column

Mali Elects Keita as President

August 13, 2013

Mali's Ibrahim Boubacar Keita accepted his presidential election victory late 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 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 July 28, and received endorsements from nearly all of the other candidates from the first round.

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 criticize the March 2012 military coup and is considered to be favoured by the army.

Some 4 billion dollars 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.





Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH


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