Keita wins Mali Presidential Election After Opponent Concedes

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Ibrahim Boubacar KeitaMali’s presidential election has been won by Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after his rival conceded defeat in the second round runoff.

According to Allafrica.com, Malian presidential candidate Soumalia Cisse conceded defeat to his opponent Keita. The election was declared by E.U. and U.S. observers to have been “credible and transparent.”

Cisse congratulated his rival for the presidency late on Monday, in a concession viewed as helpful in restoring stability to the conflict-torn country, Allafrica.com reports.

“My family and I went and congratulated Mr. Keita, the future president of Mali, on his victory. May God bless Mali,” said Cisse, a former finance minister, on his official Twitter feed.

Keita had been expected to win the Sunday vote easily, after pulling 39.34 percent of the votes in the first round of the election last month. The local broadcasters, Radio Kedu and Radio Dambe both reported that, this time around, Keita again had won well ahead of Cisse – who polled 19.44 percent in the first vote, according to Allafrica.com. 

Mali at the Crossroads

Aljazeera.com reports:

“‘This election, from a democratic standards point of view, is a success,’ said the head of a EU observer mission, Louis Michel.

“‘It is an election that allows Mali now to start finishing the process that it has begun: the return to a normal democracy,’ he added.

“France sent thousands of troops in January to break an al-Qaeda-linked rebels’ grip on northern Mali.

“Paris now aims to pull out its contingent to a rapid response team of 1,000 troops to face the scattered threat, while handing broader security duties to a 12,600-strong UN peacekeeping mission being deployed.

“Keita received the support of 22 of the 25 losing first-round candidates. Diplomats now hope a clean election will give him a strong mandate to negotiate a lasting peace with northern Tuareg separatists, reform the army, and tackle deep-rooted corruption.

“‘This was an important stage in the transition in Mali towards peace and reconciliation,’ UN Special Representative for Mali Bert Koenders said.

‘”There were small imperfections … but the lack of violence was impressive in a country which has just emerged from conflict.'”

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