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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid