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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid