News / Africa

Vote Counting Under Way in Mali Presidential Runoff

A Malian poll worker counts ballots in Bamako Aug. 11, 2013.
A Malian poll worker counts ballots in Bamako Aug. 11, 2013.
Anne Look
Vote counting is underway in Mali following Sunday's presidential run-off election, meant to be a turning point from more than 18 months of conflict and political crisis.

Election agents in polling stations around Bamako counted ballots as night fell Sunday.

Dozens of young men waited anxiously outside their polling station at the Nelson Mandela school in Commune 2 to be the first to hear the results.

One of them, Yacouba Konate, said "we need to be the eyes and ears of our candidate. Mali needs change. This country belongs to us, the young people, and it was up to us to show it, to motivate people to come out and vote."

Voting went off largely without incident around the country.

The sun came out in Bamako at mid-day after scattered morning rainfall.

A citizen's observer mission said rains in the Bamako district, as well as in the Kayes and Koulikoro regions, could have affected turnout, which appeared slightly lower than the record 49 percent during the first round of voting on July 28.

Polling officials in the capital said turnout appeared the same or a bit lower than the first round, due also to the recent Muslim holiday.

Voters like Amadou Sanga said they came out because the election was too important to miss.

He said "this election will decide what comes next, whether or not we can get out of what has been a major crisis. We can't make the same mistakes again. We are here to choose a leader who can get us out of this situation once and for all."

A lot is riding on this election. It will unlock $4 billion in international aid already pledged to rebuild the country and it will mark an end to the political limbo that followed the March 2012 military coup.

Mali is now host to a massive U.N. mission aimed at stabilizing the north, which was occupied by rebel and Islamist armed groups for nine months.

Presidential candidate Soumaila Cisse is a technocrat from Timbuktu in the north. His campaign has focused on economic recovery. He faces candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a one-time prime minister and former National Assembly president from the south. He is known for his "say it like it is" demeanor and fierce nationalism.

Keita appears to be the frontrunner. He led the first round with 39 percent of ballots and almost all of the other 26 first-round candidates are backing him in the run-off.

Election authorities have until Friday to announce results from Sunday's run-off.

French, Malian and U.N. troops provided security for Sunday's vote.

A local journalist in the far northern rebel stronghold of Kidal told VOA that voter turnout as of mid-day appeared higher than the dismally low participation seen there during the first round.

The election took place in Kidal under a temporary cease-fire deal signed in mid-June between Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA, and Mali's interim government. 

Amadou Maiga contributed to this report from Bamako.

You May Like

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More