News / Africa

Malians Poised to Elect President

A child walks past posters for political candidates plastered on a house in Bamako, July 22, 2013.
A child walks past posters for political candidates plastered on a house in Bamako, July 22, 2013.
Anne Look
— Malians go to the polls Sunday for a presidential election that is seen as the first step toward getting the country to recover from a disastrous 18-month crisis that saw a military coup in the south and an Islamist takeover of the north.
 
There are high hopes for this election, but it is not without risk.
 
Mali had just a few short months to prepare for the vote and it was a race to get things done. People lined up outside voting offices in Bamako Saturday in last-minute bids to pick up their biometric voter cards.
 
There was no time to update the voter list from the last registration in 2009. Errors on the list meant that thousands of registered voters did not get their voter cards.
 
Though Mali's nearly 7 million registered voters are concentrated in the south, gazes will be turned northward to the formerly militant-held towns where security remains a key concern.
 
General Siaka Sangare heads the General Office for Elections, one of three national bodies organizing the vote.
 
"This election is taking place in a fragile and precarious security context and a political climate that is calm but not very reassuring," he said via translator. "The success of this election depends on more than just the technical preparations."
 
Regional troops involved in the French-led military intervention that began in January against al-Qaida-linked militants occupying the north are now being absorbed into a massive United Nations mission in Mali.
 
That mission, alongside the Malian army, is responsible for securing the vote nationwide, even in Kidal, where the Malian army was able to deploy following a June 18 temporary cease-fire deal with Tuareg rebels that allowed the election to go ahead.
 
Registered voters in Bamako say peace is the No. 1 priority for the next president.
 
"The number one priority is this war," said Assane Traore Coulibaly. "It has started but it isn't totally over. We want it to be done. That is what is most on our minds."
 
Hundreds of national and international observers from the African Union, regional bloc ECOWAS and the European Union will be on the ground Sunday.
 
The EU chief observer said Friday that the conditions and preparations were "acceptable" for a legitimate election.
 
If no candidate wins a clear majority, the two top-scoring candidates will head to a runoff on August 11.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid