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Mali holds first election since French military intervention

Mali holds first election since French military intervention
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Voters in Mali have been casting their ballots in a presidential election that many hope will provide the African nation with a fresh start.

Queues formed at many of the 21,000 polling stations across the country.

One voter in Timbuktu told of his excitement: “It’s a great pleasure! I want a good president for my country. The time has come for a change in Mali. We are in a hurry for that, I’m even in a hurry to vote!”

Security is tight, with many areas still recovering from last year’s coup and rebellion that resulted in French-led foreign military intervention.

There are 27 candidates, including one woman.

One of the frontrunners is Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Known as IBK, he was Mali’s prime minister from 1994 to 2000.

His biggest rival is believed to be Soumaila Cissé. He served as a government minister throughout much of the 1990s.

If the ballot produces no outright winner a second round will be held on August 11.