Cisse concedes defeat in Mali election


A combination of two file pictures shows Malian presidential candidates Soumaila Cisse (left) on January 18 in Dakar and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on May 1, 2007 in Bamako. AFP PHOTO

AMAKO: Former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse of Malian on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) conceded defeat against former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the troubled country’s presidential election.

“I went to see him to congratulate him and wish him good luck for Mali,” Cisse said before official results were announced.

Electoral and security sources earlier said Keita had pulled ahead with two-thirds of votes counted after Sunday’s second round of the election.

Keita—widely known as IBK—faced Cisse in the election run-off, which is to provide a fresh start for the west African nation following more than a year of political turmoil, including a military coup and war.

“With nearly two-thirds of the ballots counted, IBK is well ahead,” said a source close to Mali’s election commission, which helped organize the polls.

But Gouagnon Coulibaly, Cisse’s campaign manager, said there had been “massive fraud” during the election, without elaborating, and accused the transitional government of being “partisan” in favor of Keita.

The election, the first since 2007, was seen as crucial for unlocking more than $4 billion (three billion euros) in aid promised by international donors who halted contributions in the wake of last year’s coup that ignited an Islamist insurgency and a French military intervention.

The government has until Friday to make public the result of the run-off, called after none of the 27 candidates in the first round on July 28 secured an outright majority.

Voting was hampered by heavy downpours in the capital Bamako, and the European Union’s election observation mission gave an estimated turn-out of “around 45 percent,” lower than the 48.9 percent achieved in the first round but still significantly higher than in previous elections.



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