Voters in Mali head to polls for run-off election

Aug. 11, 2013 at 8:13 AM

BAMAKO, Mali, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Voters in Mali headed to the polls Sunday for a second round of presidential elections, officials said.

Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who took a 40 percent majority in the first round of voting, is in a runoff against former Finance Minister Soumalia Cisse, who took 20 percent of the first round vote, the BBC reported.

On Saturday, Keita urged voters to give him a "clear and clean" majority. "My first priority would be the reconciliation of the country. After the trauma that it has suffered, a new start is needed," he said.

Following the election, Mali will receive nearly $4 billion in promised international aid that had been suspended after a military coup threw Mali into chaos last year, Voice of America reported.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali, made up of 12,000 troops, is currently being deployed to Mali as France begins to withdraw its 3,000 troops that were sent to the West African nation earlier this year to fight militant Islamists that took control of cities in Mali's northern desert region.

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