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Mali presidential election, round 2: voters cast ballots in runoff

Voters are choosing between former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and ex-Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse.

Mali election 2013 08 02Enlarge
The two frontrunners in Mali’s presidential election: Soumaila Cisse (L) and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a.k.a. IBK (R). With no candidate getting a majority in the landmark poll on July 28, Mali's presidential election will go to a second round of voting on Aug. 11. (GEORGES GOBET /AFP/Getty Images)

Mali’s citizens were voting Sunday for a new president in a runoff election.

A record turnout of 49 percent of 6.8 million registered voters participated in a presidential election on July 28 but, with 27 candidates running for the office, no one person captured a majority of the votes.

More from GlobalPost: Run-off vote scheduled in Mali elections with no clear winner

Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 68, who won 40 percent of the vote in the first round election, was expected to defeat former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse, 63, the second-place finisher in July, BBC News reported.

Results of the runoff election are due to be announced by Aug. 16.

According to the Guardian:

Mali’s next president will be tasked with not only rebuilding the country's shattered economy but also resolving a simmering separatist movement in the far north.

Each candidate offered a different approach to solving Mali’s problems.

Keita, known by his initials IBK, has styled himself as the more forceful leader needed to restore Mali’s might after France, the country’s former colonizer, had to be called in to banish Al Qaeda-affiliated militants from the country’s northern towns earlier this year.

Cisse has focused on providing what supporters say are more specific ideas for creating jobs and revitalizing Mali’s economy.

Foreign donors have promised to provide Mali with $4 billion in aid once a democratically elected government is installed.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/130811/mali-presidential-election-round-2-voters-cast-ballots-runoff