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Mali Voting in 2nd Round of Presidential Election


Mali is holding a second round of presidential elections Sunday. Voters are choosing between Amadou Toumani Toure, a retired army general who led Mali during a period of transition to democracy 10 years ago, and former Cabinet Minister Soumaila Cisse.

Mr. Toure and Mr. Cisse finished first and second, respectively, among a list of 24 candidates in the first round of balloting on April 28.

Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the candidate who came in third, contested the vote, alleging there had been what he said were serious irregularities in the vote-counting.

After Mali's constitutional court ratified results last week, however, Mr. Keita and a coalition of his supporters decided to endorse Amadou Toumani Toure.

Observers said voter turnout at polling stations across the capital, Bamako, appeared to be light Sunday.

Sunday's polling comes after a chaotic period of vote-counting following the first round, when results were delayed several times. The tabulation of votes was interrupted for one full day. The government explained the incident by saying the only person who had the password for the computer that was tabulating the votes had been seriously injured in a car accident.

On Saturday, Mali's Interior Minister, Ousmane Sy, appeared on state television saying the government was overwhelmed in processing the votes cast for the large number of candidates in the first round. The minister said the government had taken steps to ensure that vote-counting in the second round would go smoothly.

Results from the second round are expected by Tuesday.

The winner will succeed outgoing President Alpha Oumar Konare, who is stepping down, after serving the maximum of two five-year terms allowed by Mali's constitution.

Mr. Konare, who threw his support behind Amadou Toumani Toure, won praise from the international community for leaving office, without maneuvering to change the country's constitution to stay in power.

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