Profile: Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

The 73-year-old president will serve his second five-year term as Malian leader after victory in a runoff vote.

    Keita was elected in 2013 with more than 75 percent of the vote in the second round [Issouf Sanogo/AFP]
    Keita was elected in 2013 with more than 75 percent of the vote in the second round [Issouf Sanogo/AFP]

    Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, universally known as IBK, has been re-elected as the Malian president after beating opposition candidate, Soumaila Cisse, in a runoff vote.

    The Ministry of Territorial Administration declared Keita the winner of the repeat poll held on August 12 after he secured 67 percent of the votes, ahead of rival Cisse, who got 32 percent.

    The two also went to a runoff vote in 2013, which was decisively won by Keita. 

    The 73-year-old will now serve his second five-year term as the Malian leader.

    Cisse has criticised Keita for not addressing Mali's rising insecurity. Ethnic killings and armed forces abuses have become a defining feature of Keita's presidency, despite thousands of French troops deployed since 2013 to contain the violence.

    Before becoming the president, Keita served as Mali's prime minister from 1994 to 2000 before heading the country's National Assembly for five years, beginning in 2002.

    Keita was born in Koutiala in central Mali and was educated at Paris's Sorbonne University and Lycee Askia-Mohamed in Bamako, the Malian capital.

    He holds degrees in history, political science and international relations.

    After completing his studies, Keita worked as a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (known in French as Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS), a public organisation under the responsibility of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

    Keita returned to Mali in 1986 and worked as a technical consultant for the European Development Fund, launching the first small-scale development programme for the European Union's aid activities in Mali.

    Model of democracy

    In 2013, IBK campaigned on pledges to restore Mali's honour as a model for democracy in West Africa where political instability was still a problem.

    Having stood up to strikes and student protests when he was prime minister, he had a reputation for firmness that many Malians believed was needed to restore the rule of law across the divided nation.

    A nationalist with a popular touch, Keita avoided strongly criticising the leaders of a March 2012 coup which overthrew former President Amadou Toumani Toure, amid widespread frustration at his government's corruption and failure to tackle poverty.

    He withdrew his RPM party from a coalition opposed to the military government in May 2012, saying that the handling of the Mali crisis had infringed upon national sovereignty.

    He pledged "zero tolerance" for corruption - echoing the words of coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo.

    A founding member of the ADMA party, historically Mali's largest, Keita befriended Alpha Oumar Konare, who was elected president after Traore was toppled in a 1991 coup.

    Konare then promoted him steadily from ambassador to Ivory Coast, to foreign minister and ultimately prime minister.

    Keita quit ADEMA to found his own party, finishing third in the 2002 presidential election won by Toure, the president who was toppled a decade later.

    SOURCE: News agencies


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