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Mali Candidates Make Campaign Runoff Push

Malian presidential candidates Soumaila Cisse (Jan. 2013), left, and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (May 2007), file photos.
Two political heavyweights in Mali are making a final push to woo voters, ahead of Sunday's presidential run-off.

Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is facing former finance minister Soumaila Cisse in an election that could mark a turning point for Mali, following an 18-month political crisis.

Friday is the candidates' only real day of campaigning because of delays in confirming results from the first round of polling on July 28 and the Muslim holiday, Eid. Both men are expected to spend the day visiting voters across Mali.

Keita received the most votes in the first round, which included 27 candidates, but fell short of an outright majority.

Keita and Cisse served together in government in the 1990's, but they parted ways following the 2002 election of former President Amadou Toumani Toure.

Sunday's election could provide the West African country with a fresh start.

Last year, the country endured an ethnic Tuareg rebellion, a coup in Bamako, and a takeover of the country's north by Islamist militant groups. A French-led military offensive drove the Islamists from power earlier this year.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.