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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid