Ibrahim Boubacar Keita Triumphs in Mali’s Presidential Vote

Former Malian Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was elected president of the west African nation with almost 78 percent of the vote in an Aug. 11 run-off, according to official results.

Keita, 68, beat former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse, who conceded defeat on Aug. 12. Turnout was about 46 percent, Minister of Territorial Administration Moussa Sinko Coulibaly told reporters in capital, Bamako.

Keita, who also served as foreign affairs minister and president of the National Assembly, campaigned under the slogan “For the Honor of Mali.” He pledged to restore the nation’s territorial integrity and revive the authority of the state in Africa’s third-largest gold producer.

“The wide victory of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is likely to give him the needed legitimacy to undertake the effort toward the national recovery and the development of the country,” French President Francois Hollande said today in a statement published on the presidency’s website.

The election was the first since the military led a coup in March 2012 because of a lack of government support in a battle against ethnic-Touareg rebels in the north. French forces intervened in January to restore order after the Touaregs joined Islamist militants in an offensive that almost split the nation.

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