Can the New President in Mali Sow the Seeds of Change That He Planted?


By Salif Romano Niang

Bamako — In Mali, the votes of the run-off have been cast. And in sharp contrast to elections in Africa or even Western democracies, the defeated candidate conceded not by press release or defiant speech but by visiting the winner in his living room, surrounded by their families. With the close of this historic election cycle, our country can begin to grow once more after surviving its most serious challenges since independence.

Analysts tend to forget the popularity of the March 2012 coup d’état that ended President Amadou Toumani Touré’s regime. According to a public opinion survey of Bamako residents, 65 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of coup leader, Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, and only 12 percent blamed him for the collapse of the state in the North.

The same poll foresaw the popularity of Mali’s president-elect, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (widely known by his initials, IBK)—more than three quarters of respondents viewed him favorably. The provisional election results…

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