World News

Mali Holds Presidential Election

Vote counting has begun in Mali after voters turned out in large numbers on Sunday for a presidential election after a chaotic 18 months that saw a military coup, an Islamist takeover of the north, and French-led military intervention.

Security was tight and the voting was free of violence, despite threats by Tuareg separatists.

VOA correspondent Anne Look says election officials are reporting a record-high voter turnout and describes the mood in the country as happy.

Candidates for the new president include two former prime ministers -- Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Modibo Sidibe. 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.



They are seeking to replace interim President Dioncounda Traore, who was appointed last year. If no candidate wins a majority, the two top-scoring challengers will head to a runoff on August 11.

OPTIONAL SOUNDBITE

VOTER

"It's giving me a great pleasure, it's a great pleasure, I want a good president for my country. The time has come for a change in Mali. We are in a hurry for that, I'm even in a hurry to get into the bureau to vote."

Featured Story

African heads of state, joined by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, sixth from left in front row, and UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, third from right in front row, pose for a group photograph at the annual African Union summit held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 30, 2015.

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More