Skip to main content

Malians vote in presidential runoff

By Faith Karimi, CNN
August 12, 2013 -- Updated 0203 GMT (1003 HKT)
Malian electoral agents count votes at a polling station in Bamako.
Malian electoral agents count votes at a polling station in Bamako.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The contest is between Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Soumaila Cisse
  • No candidate won a majority in the first round of voting last month
  • Final results are not expected for days in the country rocked by coup, Islamist militants

(CNN) -- Malians headed to the polls Sunday to vote for a president after a coup last year plunged the nation into chaos and left the north in the hands of Islamists.

Heavy rain fell in the morning, potentially lowering turnout. Early results could come in as early as Sunday night, though final results are not expected for days.

The contest is between veteran politician and former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who got nearly 40% of votes in the first round, and former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse, who garnered close to 20% of the vote.

Keita ran for office in 2002 and 2007. He lost both times, most recently to Amadou Toumani Toure.

Toure was ousted by a faction of the military in March of last year, plunging Mali into chaos.

Mali heads to polls
Combating violence against women in Mali
Ancient Islamic manuscripts under threat
Mali's refugee crisis worsening

A group of outraged soldiers accused the government of not providing adequate equipment to battle ethnic Tuareg rebels roaming the vast desert in the north. Disgruntled, the soldiers marched to the palace.

A few hours later, a soldier appeared on state television and said the military was in control of the nation. The coup leader later stepped down and transferred power to a civilian transitional government.

But uncertainty reigned.

Islamic extremists, some with ties to al Qaeda, capitalized on the coup. They toppled the Tuareg tribe roaming in the north and seized control of Timbuktu and other cities in the region. They carved out a large portion of the region and began instituting their own laws.

They banned music, smoking, drinking and watching sports on television, and destroyed historic tombs and shrines in the north. World leaders feared that the al Qaeda-linked militants would turn the area into a terrorist haven.

Their victories prompted a French-led military campaign in January to flush out the insurgents. France has a close tie to Mali after holding it as a colony from 1898 to 1960.

A successful election would allow France to withdraw some of the troops it put in place to halt Islamist militants from advancing toward the capital, Bamako. French troops and United Nations peacekeepers still patrol the streets of the fragile north.

The runoff election is taking place because no candidate won a majority in the first round of voting last month.

Journalist Katarina Hoije contributed to this report from Bamako.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT