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

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora