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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
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 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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid