Malians have voted in the second round of their country's presidential election. Two candidates made gains in the country’s July 28 first-round polls, but neither won a majority, paving the way for the decisive runoff.
About 7 million voters were eligible to take part in Sunday's presidential election, picking from a sharply reduced choice from the original 27 candidates, with only the two frontrunners remaining: former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse. Early in the day, polling stations reported a smaller turnout than July's 50 percent, with torrential rains perhaps partly to blame.
Observers reported that polls ran smoothly but did note problems with booths in the capital, Bamako, opening on time because of the rain.
Ex-Prime Minister Keita (pictured) was favored to win in the runoff vote on Sunday. Not only did he capture roughly 40 percent of the vote late last month, but he also gained the backing of Mali's religious leaders and military. Cisse had only received 20 percent of the first-round vote.
In the days leading up to the final stage of the election, Keita pledged to move the country toward a peaceful resolution with separatist groups in the country's north.
Results are expected within five days.
mkg/pfd (AP, AFP)