Ibrahim Keita Confirmed as New President of Mali

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Mali’s constitutional court has confirmed Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as the country’s new president, following a landslide victory at the polls.

The 68-year-old won 77.62 percent of the vote in the second round of elections on Aug. 11.

Keita is a former prime minister and veteran of the political scene in Mali. He takes office on Sept. 4 and will be faced with the task of leading the country out of a 17-month political crisis sparked by a military coup.

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 there.

“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,’ U.N. 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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