News / Africa

Campaigning Wraps Up Ahead of Mali Election

Millions of Malians are expected to vote Sunday in elections they hope will usher in a new dawn of peace and stability in a country torn apart by an 18-month political crisis and armed conflict, July 26, 2013.
Millions of Malians are expected to vote Sunday in elections they hope will usher in a new dawn of peace and stability in a country torn apart by an 18-month political crisis and armed conflict, July 26, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anne Look
— Campaigning for Mali's 27 presidential candidates has ended ahead of Sunday's election. The vote is seen as the first step toward getting Mali back on its feet after a disastrous 18-month crisis that saw a military coup in the south and an Islamist takeover of the north.

Caravans of young people hanging out the windows of beat-up vans, riding motos and even a few galloping by on horseback headed to the Friday rallies of two of the frontrunners in Mali's presidential race - Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Dramane Dembele.

It was a subdued end to what has been a subdued campaign. Voter participation in Mali is notoriously low even by regional standards, never topping more than 40 percent.

Several thousand gathered on Bamako's Avenue of Mali for their candidate, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a long-time opponent of the previous regime, which many blame for the current crisis.

Keita, more commonly known by his initials IBK, gave a speech characteristic of his "get tough" reputation. "Attention, Malians, what happened in this country will never happen again. No one will ever take advantage of Mali again. We are going to train our army well and make it strong. And anyone who wants to come attack Mali will have to face them. This is what I will do as president." said Keita.

IBK supporter Dieynabou Coulibaly danced as she arrived at the rally. "It's the way he works that I like. He is honest and sincere. He hates betrayal and he has principles," she said.

Across town at the Modibe Keita Stadium, supporters of Mali's largest political party, ADEMA, filled the stands, many dressed in the party colors, red and white.

The ADEMA candidate, Dramane Dembele, is a relative unknown, a geologist with little government experience.

Supporter Bala Kante said ADEMA ran this country before the now-ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure and it is time to go back to that.

"I support Dembele because he is the candidate of ADEMA. He has been youth leader in the party, and he has the support of women and young people. There are lot of problems left to solve in this country. We need a change, a change in ideology," he said.

Other top candidates include Soumaila Cisse and Modibo Sidibe, both long-time political players and former government ministers.

Cisse held his final rally 60 km outside Bamako in Koulikoro, while Sidibe wrapped up his campaign in the southeast in Sikasso, the region with the most registered voters.

If no candidate wins a clear majority, the two top-scoring candidates will head to a run-off August 11.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid