BAMAKO: Mali voted on Sunday for a new president in a bid to usher in peace and stability in the first election since a military coup helped plunge the country into chaos.
Voters chose from 27 candidates to lead the nation from the crisis ignited by last year’s mutiny, which allowed Islamists to seize the vast desert north before a French-led military inter-vention dislodged them earlier this year.
Preliminary results collated by journalists in polling stations after the end of voting suggested that former premier Ibrahim Boubacar Keita had taken a clear early lead.
The unofficial projection, based on the accounts of reporters watching counts across the country, indicates that Keita, 69, could even cause an upset and win the first round outright.
His supporters were already celebrating in the capital Bamako outside his party headquarters, as news of his apparent lead was broadcast on local radio.