Mali’s government has scheduled a run-off vote between the top two presidential contenders since no single candidate won an outright majority in the country’s July 28 election, government officials announced Friday.
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Former Mali Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won the most ballots among the field of 27 candidates, capturing 39.24 percent of the vote. Ex-Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse came in second, with 19.44 percent of the vote.
Keita will go head-to-head against Cisse on Aug. 11.
A record number of voters turned out for the election, which would give the country a new leader after the military coup in March 2012.
Some 51.54 percent of Mali's citizens cast ballots last month; previous elections had topped out at 40 percent participation.
Keita, known as "IBK,” promised to restore some muscle to Mali’s government, running under a campaign slogan of ''for Mali's honor,” the BBC's Alex Duval Smith reported from Bamako.
Malians felt humiliated that France sent some 4,000 soldiers to Mali in January to wrest control of the country’s northern towns from Al Qaeda-affiliated militants, Smith said.
IBK has the support of prominent Muslim leaders and the military junta that masteredminded the 2012 coup. Cisse, founder the Union for the Republic and Democracy party and chairman of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, wants the coup leaders to leave politics entirely.