Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won Mali’s presidency after his opponent conceded defeat before official results were announced from the election aimed at restoring stability to a country wracked by rebellion, a coup and an Islamic insurgency.
Soumalia Cisse’s concession on Monday allows Mali to avoid a protracted election fight and to move ahead with establishing a democratically elected government, one of the international community’s caveats for unlocking some $4 billion in promised aid.
Keita had expected to win easily, having pulled nearly 40 percent of the vote in first round.
Most of the other candidates from the first round also had given their endorsements to Keita, who is a former prime minister.
However, earlier in the day some of Cisse’s supporters had raised allegations of ballot stuffing against Keita’s party, raising the spectre of a legal battle.