Mali goes to the polls again on Sunday in a run-off race to decide its next president.
No candidate obtained the 50 percent needed for an outright victory but Mali’s former prime minister, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is now favourite to win having taken nearly 40 percent in last month’s ballot.
He faces Soumaila Cisse, an ex-finance minister who took just 19 percent of the first-round vote.
The West African nation still bears the scars of the Islamist coup last year which led to France’s military intervention in January. But in the capital Bamako, many are optimistic that the poll will help Mali turn a corner towards peace.
“Mali’s renewal is very possible, it’s feasible. We’ve had confidence in them for a long time. In the life of all nations you often find there’s a clog in the wheel at some point, but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome,” said Mamadou Kouresi.
Sunday’s election should unlock some four billion euros of aid and allow France to hand over responsibility for maintaining security to a 12,600-strong UN peacekeeping force.