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Mali's President Amadou Toumani Touré Wins Second Term


Official results in Mali's presidential election on Sunday give victory to the incumbent, Amadou Toumani Touré. Losers in the poll have alleged wrongdoing, but observers said the poll was well conducted. Naomi Schwarz has this report from VOA's West Africa bureau in Dakar.

The final results show President Amadou Toumani Touré (commonly called by his initials ATT) has been elected to a second term in Mali with nearly 70 percent of the votes. He had claimed victory Monday, based on partial results.

Kissy Agyeman of the British-based research group Global Insight says Mr. Touré's victory was expected.

"I think ATT's win has come with little surprise," she said. "It really has been touted as a forgone conclusion because he is someone who is quite genuinely liked on the ground in Mali. I think people are quite nostalgic as to the improvements ATT has brought. He [brought] multi-party politics to the country in 1991."

Mr. Touré led a coup in 1991 to overthrow a military dictatorship. He handed power to the democratically elected president the following year, and only returned to power after being elected in 2002.

Agyeman says the only surprise this election is the president's large margin of victory. While many analysts predicted Mr. Touré would be the eventual winner, they believed the election would have to go to a second round. Mali's laws require a second round if no candidate wins an absolute majority of the vote.

Now that the official results are in, the next and final step is that they have to be approved by the nation's top court.

Turnout for the election was low, especially in the capital, Bamako. Only 36 percent of Malians voted. This is approximately the same percentage as voted in the first round election in 2002.

Some opposition leaders have made charges of ballot tampering and fraud, but international observers deemed the election valid.

Mr. Touré has pledged to continue the policies he began in his first term.

Agyeman says the most important order of business will be working on the economy.

"It is a very narrow economy and it relies very heavily on primary commodities, gold and cotton," she explained. "So I think ATT should focus on how to diversify Mali's economy and really bring out the country from the economic difficulties that it sees itself in at present."

Mali is the world's third-poorest country, according to the U.N. Human Development index. The country suffers from chronic water shortages, and most residents live in rural areas without running water or electricity.

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