News / Africa

Keita Wins Mali Election After Cisse Concedes

This combination of two file pictures shows (at L) Malian presidential candidate, Soumaila Cisse, and (at R) Malian presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, dubbed IBK.
This combination of two file pictures shows (at L) Malian presidential candidate, Soumaila Cisse, and (at R) Malian presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, dubbed IBK.
Reuters
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, an ex-prime minister with a reputation for firmness, won Mali's presidential election after his rival conceded defeat on Monday in a poll meant to draw a line under more than a year of turmoil.
 
Keita, 68, universally known by his initials IBK, will now have access to $4 billion in international development aid to rebuild the West African country after a French military intervention in January ended Islamist rebels' occupation of the northern two-thirds of Mali.
 
He inherits a broken nation and must move quickly to overhaul the armed forces, tackle ingrained graft and negotiate peace with northern Tuareg fighters clamoring for more autonomy from the southern capital Bamako.
 
The concession by his rival Soumaila Cisse, who had complained only hours earlier that Sunday's second-round vote had been marred by fraud, hands Keita a strong mandate to undertake reform in the landlocked former French colony, one of the world's poorest countries.
 
“My family and I went to congratulate Mr. Keita, the future president of Mali, on his victory. May God bless Mali,” Cisse, a former finance minister, said on his official Twitter feed.
 
A spokesman for Cisse, who comes from northern Mali, said his candidate had admitted defeat after it became clear Keita had won even in Gao, the largest town in the north.
 
Mali's presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during an interview on August 9, 2013, in Bamako.Mali's presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during an interview on August 9, 2013, in Bamako.
x
Mali's presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during an interview on August 9, 2013, in Bamako.
Mali's presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during an interview on August 9, 2013, in Bamako.
Keita, who earned his reputation for firmness by crushing student protests as prime minister in the 1990s, had been widely expected to clinch Sunday's runoff. He swept a July 28 first round with nearly 40 percent of votes on a ticket to restore dignity and order to a nation once regarded as a model for democracy in a turbulent region.
 
International and local observers said that, barring some small irregularities, the election was exemplary. France had pressed for the vote to go ahead quickly as it draws down its 3,000 remaining troops in Mali and hands over to a U.N. peacekeeping mission, despite fears a rushed process might undermine the legitimacy of a new president.
 
“This election, from a democratic standards point of view, is a success,” said the head of a European Union observer mission, Louis Michel. “It is an election that allows Mali now to start finishing the process that it has begun: the return to a normal democracy.”
 
Lasting Peace in North Top Priority
 
Keita has said his top priority will be to secure lasting peace for northern Mali, which has been racked by five bloody rebellions since independence from France in 1960. Light-skinned Tuaregs have accused successive black African governments in the south of marginalizing the underdeveloped region.
 
Tuaregs took up arms again early last year, alleging Bamako had violated a 2006 peace accord meant to develop the north. Former President Amadou Toumani Toure's failure to tackle that revolt led to the coup which tipped the country into chaos.
 
Keita has promised to open inclusive talks with all the peoples of northern Mali - black African, Arab and Tuareg - but many in the south are hostile to funneling more of Mali's scarce resources to a region they see as responsible for the country's plight.
 
“There is a challenge of national reconciliation,” said Chris Fomunyoh, senior associate for Africa at the National Democratic Institute in Washington. “There is a lot of unease between ethnic groups, not just north versus south, but even within the north itself.”
 
The 12,600-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission being deployed will take over responsibility for security as France whittles down its contingent to just 1,000 troops - a rapid reaction force meant to tackle any outbreaks of Islamist violence.
 
A EU mission is also retraining and equipping Mali's armed forces, demoralized by last year's defeats at the hands of the Tuaregs and al-Qaida-linked Islamist rebels.
 
MUJWA, one of three Islamist groups which seized control of northern Mali last year, had threatened to carry out attacks on polling stations in northern Mali before the July 28 first round but the electoral process passed off without any violence.
 
“This was an important stage in the transition in Mali towards peace and reconciliation,” U.N. Special Representative for Mali Bert Koenders said. “The lack of violence was impressive in a country which has just emerged from conflict.”

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More