Keita Officially Announced as President Of MaliAugust 16, 2013 in Mali
Officials in Mali have announced that Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is the new leader, confirming that the ex-Prime Minister had won a landslide victory.
Figures for Sunday’s second round of voting were announced on live television by the Interior Minister, showing that Mr. Keita had won an overwhelming 77.6 percent of the vote, with his rival Soumalia Cisse gaining 22.4 percent. According to Interior Minister Sinko Coulibaly, the turnout for the presidential elections was recorded at 45.8 percent, while just 93,000 ballots were spoiled, compared with 400,000 in the first round. Former Finance Minister Cisse had already conceded the run-off vote to Mr. Keta after it became apparent on Monday morning that victory was beyond his grasp. The 68-year-old will now oversee more than US $4 billion (£2.6 billion) in foreign aid promised to rebuild the country after a turbulent eighteen months. The new government which he will lead will also be obliged to open peace talks with the separatist Tuareg rebels within two months following a ceasefire that enabled voting to take place in the northern regions of the country. Cementing national reconciliation will likely be a challenge for the newly formed government as many in the southern regions of the country continue to be hostile towards funneling more of Mali’s already scarce resources to a region they see as being responsible for the country’s plight. In turn, there is a continued unease between a number of ethnic groups, not only between the north and south, but also within the north itself.
While these elections are expected to provide the conflict-scarred nation a fresh start, Mr. Keita’s regime begins already mired in controversy after it emerged on Wednesday that Captain Amadou Sanogo, who led a group of fellow mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22 of last year, had been promoted. Just two days after Ibrahim Boubacar Keita emerged as Mali’s president-elect, a defence ministry spokesman confirmed that “today, the cabinet approved the nomination of Captain Amadou Sanogo for the grade of Lieutenant-General.” Human Rights Watch (HRW) has described Sanogo’s elevation from captain to the rank of lieutenant-general as “outrageous,” further adding that “Sanogo and forces loyal to him have been implicated in extremely serious abuses, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, attacks against journalists and torture.” Most of these crimes were committed during 2012 in the months after the March coup d’etat. The HRW also noted that “instead of being rewarded with this promotion, Sanogo should have been investigated for his alleged involvement in these acts.”