News / Africa

Malian Authorities Salute Voter Turnout in Presidential Poll

Poll workers count ballots after the end of voting in Mali's presidential elections in Timbuktu Jul. 28, 2013.
Poll workers count ballots after the end of voting in Mali's presidential elections in Timbuktu Jul. 28, 2013.
Anne Look
Malian authorities are saluting what they say was a historic voter turnout in the country's presidential election Sunday. No major issues were raised during the vote. The election is seen as the first step toward getting Mali back on its feet after a disastrous 18 month political crisis and an Islamist takeover of the north.

Malians voted Sunday in numbers that many think will set a new record in a country where voter turnout has never been more than 40 percent.

Youssouf Sangare has worked in polling stations for the past five elections. For this election, he is the president of the largest voting center in Bamako, the Nyarkolo school. He said, "A lot of people came out. From open to close, people came and just kept coming. I have never seen anything like it in my lifetime."

As night fell and election officials counted ballots by lamplight, individual polling offices at the Nyarkolo center said they were counting turnouts as high as 65 percent.

Even as voting began Sunday morning across town in Bamako's Commune 5, voter Amady Diallo said he knew this time would be different. "This election is a special case. We had the war, the coup, the jihadists who invaded the country. We need a legitimate government to fix things. That is why Malians are coming out in mass to vote to get a legitimate president and get Mali out of this rut it is in," he said.

It has been just seven months since French, Malian and regional troops liberated much of the north from al-Qaida-linked militants who seized control in the chaos that followed a new Tuareg rebellion in the north and a March 2012 military coup in the south.

Voter turnout was reported to be enthusiastic in the formerly occupied town of Gao Sunday. However, farther north, in the Tuareg rebel stronghold of Kidal, the number of ballots cast by midday was in the single digits for polling offices counting hundreds of registered voters.

Mali had just a few short months to organize this election, and there were issues, most notably with the voter list that had not been updated since 2009. However, officials say they were able to distribute 85 percent of the new biometric voter cards ahead of the vote.

The day was not without glitches. Some voters had trouble finding where they should vote, and there were reports that some Malians outside the country were not able to vote.

A few of the 27 candidates expressed concern about fraud in the run-up to the poll.

Voter Naba Keita said "I trust in this election but authorities need to be vigilant to prevent people from cheating."

Mali's interim president Diouncounda Traore has urged candidates to "remain democrats to the end" and accept the results.

French, Malian and U.N. troops secured the vote nationwide. Security forces were on high alert in the formerly occupied northern towns that have been the target of jihadist attacks and suicide bombings since being liberated in January. No incidents were reported.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid