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August 15, 2013

Mali Confirms Huge Election Win for Keita

by VOA News

Mali's government has confirmed Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won a landslide victory in Sunday's presidential election runoff.

The government released figures on Thursday showing the former prime minister captured 77.6 percent of the vote.

​​His rival, former finance minister Soumaila Cisse, won just over 22 percent.  Cisse had already conceded defeat.

Confirmation of Keita's victory followed the announcement that the army captain who led a coup in March 2012 has received a huge promotion.

On Wednesday, military officials said the interim government had promoted Amadou Sanogo to general, a promotion that skips over several military ranks.

​​Rights groups have criticized the decision. Human Rights Watch says Sanogo, instead of being "rewarded," should be investigated for his alleged involvement in serious abuses linked to the coup.

According to the Reuters news agency, diplomats say the move is designed to push Sanogo to retirement.

Keita faces the daunting challenge of reuniting and rebuilding Mali. 

The country has endured an 18-month crisis that included a Tuareg rebellion in the north, the overthrow of President Amadou Toumani Toure, and a takeover of the north by al-Qaida-linked militant groups.  A French-led military offensive drove the Islamists from power in the north earlier this year.