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Counting gets underway in Mali's crucial presidential run-off

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Counting gets underway in Mali's crucial presidential run-off


Counting is underway in Mali’s presidential run-off.

The election is being viewed as a major step towards restoring democracy after more than a year of turmoil.

In the first round a record 49 percent of the nearly six million registered voters turned out to cast ballots.

Observers have said participation appears to have been slightly lower for the second round.

Former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita otherwise known as IBK is tipped to claim the difficult job of stabilising the West African nation.

Most of the 25 losing first-round candidates have thrown their weight behind him after he pledged to impose order.

His rival, former finance minister Soumaila Cisse and vocal critic of the military junta that seized power last year has promised to improve education, create jobs and reform the army.

Whoever wins will be able to draw on more than nearly three billion euros in foreign aid promised to rebuild the country after the French-led military intervention in January routed al Qaeda-linked rebels occupying the north of the country.

Results are due to be announced Tuesday or Wednesday.

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