News / Africa

Malian Voters Face Choice Between Keita, Cisse in Sunday Election

Malians Face Choice Between Keita, Cisse on Sundayi
X
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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid