News / Africa

Malian Voters Face Choice Between Keita, Cisse in Sunday Election

Malians Face Choice Between Keita, Cisse on Sundayi
August 09, 2013 2:45 PM
Mali heads to the polls Sunday for a presidential run-off election that many hope will be the turning point in an 18-month crisis that has included a military coup, a takeover of the north by armed groups and a French-led military offensive against the groups this year. There were 27 presidential candidates for the first round on July 28, but just two head to the run-off. VOA's Anne Look has this report from Bamako where the past week has seen political alliances made and un-made.]]
Anne Look
Malians head to the polls Sunday for a presidential run-off election that many hope will be the turning point in an 18-month crisis that has included a military coup, a takeover of the north by armed groups and a French-led military offensive against those groups this year.  Twenty seven presidential candidates were in the first round July 28, but just two are headed to the run-off.  The past week has seen political alliances made and broken.

Two candidates are on the ballot: former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a National Assembly deputy from Bamako, and Soumaila Cisse, a technocrat from Timbuktu.

The men once belonged to the same political party.  They served in government together in the 1990s, with Keita as prime minister and Cisse as finance minister.
Then their paths diverged. Cisse became a steadfast supporter of President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was ousted in a March 2012 coup and is blamed by many Malians for the ongoing crisis.
Keita became Toure's most outspoken critic, something the candidate has underscored on the campaign trail.  He said, "Mali was stolen from us.  That government ate it up and sucked the bones dry.  They humiliated us to the point that people started to ally with the Islamists.  Attention, Malians, that will never happen again."
His campaign has been about big ideals -- nationalism, honor, dignity.  Opponents said he is vague on details.  His supporters say they back the man, not the plan.
Supporter Ali Badra Keita said, "We have become a country in disarray, where everything is permitted so we want a tough leader, and that is IBK."
Keita dominated the first round with 39 percent of the vote.  Most of the 25 candidates eliminated in that round are now backing him, including third-place candidate Dramane Dembele, whose party, ADEMA, is an ally of the rival candidate,  Cisse.
But Malians said they are used to the fickle nature of their political class.  

Cisse supporters like Alhousseini Sow said the race is not over.  "It doesn't matter what alliances politicians are making. Like Cisse says, this is a fresh election.  Voters should be left to make their choices without manipulation or pressure," he said.

Cisse raised concerns about vote-rigging and intimidation in the first round and has called on his supporters to be vigilant.
Ever the financial manager, he talks about investing in Mali's future.  

Cisse told supporters gathered at his headquarters Wednesday, "Even if we win the elections, the battle will be far from over.  We must then rebuild the country.  We must tackle unemployment and poverty.  We need to invest in this country, in agriculture, livestock farming, fishing.  We need to build roads and factories.  We need to create wealth so that each of you can live a happy life."
It is hard to gauge the two candidates' chances.  

Friday is the only real day of campaigning ahead of the vote, following delays in confirming first-round results and a Muslim holiday Thursday.

Amadou Maiga contributed reporting from Bamako.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs