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Former Mali PM Keita Takes Lead in Presidential Vote

Partial results from Mali's presidential election show that front-runner and former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is leading and may win an outright victory.

Mali's minister of territorial administration, Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, announced Tuesday that Keita is comfortably ahead with one third of the votes counted.

Coulibaly did not reveal the extent of the margin but says if it is maintained there will be no need for a runoff vote.

Keita and another former prime minister, Modibo Sidibe, were considered the front-runners in Sunday's election, which was seen as a first step toward the country's recovery from a year-and-a-half of unrest.



The two other top candidates are Soumaila Cisse, who ran the West African Monetary Union, and a relative unknown, Dramane Dembele, who is backed by Mali's largest political party, ADEMA.

Sunday's election was peaceful and had a relatively high voter turnout, with some areas reporting it at more than 50 percent.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault praised the election as a great success that should give Mali "every chance" to become a democratic independent nation.

France led a military intervention in Mali after a chaotic 18 months that saw a military coup and Islamist takeover of the north.

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