Mali vote goes to run-off

Former PM Ibrahim Boubacar Keita leads with 39.2 percent, ahead of main rival Soumaila Cisse with 19.4 percent.

    Mali's presidential election will go to a second round on August 11, with no candidate securing a majority in the landmark poll, the government has said.

    Former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita came first in Mali's presidential election on Sunday, but he will face Soumaila Cisse, the former finance minister, in a run-off after he failed to secure an outright majority, the government said on Friday.

    Figures for Sunday's ballot announced on live television on Friday showed Keita in the lead with 39.2 percent of Cisse with 19.4 percent.

    Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris, reporting from Bamako, said Keita needed to win 50 percent of the vote in the first round to secure an outright win.

    Idris said that the election was important, as Mali recovers from a political crisis.

    A coup in March last year overthrew Amadou Toumani Toure, plunging one West Africa's most stable democracies into a political crisis and leading to an insurgency, with al-Qaeda-linked fighters in the north seeking autonomy.

    Former colonial power France launched a military offensive in January to drive out the fighters.

    "There has been a kind of instability spreading across the country," our correspondent said.

    Keita tweeted in his latest campaign update before the announcement: "The new Mali is being built with patience, calm and serenity for all Malians united around these challenges above ambitions and pretensions, and not in a climate of agitation and invective ... "

    Four former prime ministers and an array of political heavyweights, but just one woman, featured in a list of 27 presidential hopefuls, although analysts always characterised the election as a contest between Keita and Cisse.

    Dramane Dembele, the candidate for Mali's largest political party, the Alliance for Democracy in Mali, polled just 9.6 percent, taking a third place.

    The result will be seen as something of a surprise after Keita took a comfortable early lead over Cisse, a former finance minister and erstwhile chairman of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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