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Mali Election A Hopeful Sign

Poll workers count ballots after the end of voting in Mali's presidential elections in Timbuktu Jul. 28, 2013.

Mali Election A Hopeful Sign

Following almost two years of political turmoil, a record number of voters in Mali came out July 28 to elect a new president and return the West African nation to constitutional order.

Mali Election A Hopeful Sign
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Some polling stations reported voter turnout as high as 65 percent, compared to 40 percent in previous elections. There were 27 candidates contending for the presidency and vote counting is still under way. The Malian Constitutional Court has until Friday to announce the official results and it is still too early to determine if a second round will be needed.

International observers report that voters were enthusiastic and despite some technical problems the process came off well.

The United States congratulates the people of Mali for their keen participation in the first round of voting. We commend the interim government for its commitment to holding transparent, inclusive elections. Though domestic and foreign observers witnessed minor technical difficulties, voting took place peacefully throughout the country.

We encourage transparency and patience as votes are counted and results are announced. We urge all candidates to resolve any disputes through the appropriate legal mechanisms. This election represents an important step in Mali’s return to democratic rule and allows for progress toward much needed national reconciliation. Our country remains a committed partner as Mali takes further steps toward long-term peace, stability and development.