Elections In Africa - News In Brief

Upcoming Elections

Past Elections
Cote d'Ivoire-28 Nov 2010
Niger-31 Jan 2011
Ghana-07 Dec 2008
Malawi-20 May 2014
Mozambique-28 Oct 2009
Namibia-27 Nov 2009
Mauritania-18 Jul 2009
Botswana-16 Oct 2009
Togo-04 Mar 2010
Guinea-27 Jun 2010
Comoros-11 Oct 2011
Ghana-07 Dec 2012
Egypt-31 Dec 2015
Tanzania-25 Oct 2015
Central African Republic -27 Dec 2015
Cape Verde -28 Aug 2016
About AEP
The African Elections Project :  your authoritative African Elections Information and Knowledge online portal, covering elections across the continent

Projecto Eleições Africanas: seu portal autorizado para informação e conhecimento sobre Eleições Africanas. Cobrindo eleições por toda Áfrca.

Le projet sur les elections en Afrique: votre portail exclusif et credible d'information et de connaissance en ligne, qui couvre les élections à travers le continent
Date:12 Jul 2013
Profiles of Mali's 2013 presidential candidates

Despite security concerns and warnings that the country is not ready for elections, Mali goes to the polls on July 28 in the first presidential vote since last year's coup. FRANCE 24 profiles some of the candidates in the 2013 race.

The official 2013 presidential campaign kicked off shortly after the July 6 lifting of a state of emergency, which was imposed when the French offensive began in January. Mali’s constitutional court has approved 28 candidates, including four former prime ministers and a female candidate.

Here are some of the leading contenders for Mali’s presidential race:


Ibrahim Boubacar Keita: The 68-year-old veteran politician, known as “IBK”, was Mali’s prime minister from 1994 to 2000. Following his resignation from office, IBK launched the Rally for Mali (RPM) party in 2001. He has made two previous, unsuccessful bids for the presidency – in 2002 and 2007. IBK lost both elections to former Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré (aka “ATT”), who was ousted in the 2012 coup. Born in Koutiala in southern Mali, IBK was educated in Mali and France, and has held top positions at various international NGOs in addition to diplomatic postings and political posts. IBK was the frontrunner in the scrapped 2012 election and was supported by a number of smaller political parties.

Soumaila Cissé: Born in Timbuktu in northern Mali, Cissé, 63, was the runner-up in the 2002 presidential poll, losing the second round to ousted president Amadou Toumani Touré. A year after the 2002 poll, he founded the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) party. Educated in Mali and France, Cissé is a software engineer by training and has worked in several French companies. A former finance minister, Cissé fled his Bamako home following the March 2012 coup after he was attacked by Malian soldiers loyal to coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo. On the campaign trail, Cissé has called for the junta to stay away from political power.

Modibo Sidibé: At 60, Sidibé has variously served as Mali’s prime minister, foreign minister and presidential chief of staff. Born in the capital of Bamako, Sidibé was a police chief before launching his political career. Considered an ATT (Amadou Toumani Touré) loyalist, Sidibé has been arrested several times since the March 2012 coup. In a recent interview with FRANCE 24, Sidibé insisted he did not have a complicated relationship with the Malian army or the Sanogo-led junta, which ousted ATT. "I do not confuse the junta and the Malian army," he maintained.

Tiébilé Dramé: Born in the southwestern Malian town of Nioro du Sahel, Dramé was foreign minister in the transitional government from 1991 to 1992 following the 1991 coup. The 58-year-old politician stood for presidential elections in 2002 and 2007, losing both elections to Amadou Toumani Touré, who was ousted in the March 2012 coup. Educated in Mali and France, Dramé is also a journalist and was a researcher at Amnesty International in the 1980s. He has served as the UN envoy charged with dealing with the 2009 political crisis in Madagascar and was also a government representative at the 2013 peace talks between Malian authorities and the Tuareg MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) group, which culminated in a peace deal in June. The peace deal enabled Malian troops to enter the then MNLA-controlled northern Malian city of Kidal.

Soumana Sacko: A former finance minister in the 1980s and prime minister under Amadou Toumani Touré’s 1991-1992 transitional presidency, Sacko launched a campaign bid for the 1997 presidential race before withdrawing his candidacy. He supported Touré in the 2002 and 2007 races and was a candidate in the 2012 election, which was scrapped due to the March 2012 coup. Sacko is 64 and has previously served as a senior official at UNDP (United Nations Development Programme).


Haïdara Aïchata Cissé: Mali’s only female presidential candidate is a former trade unionist and businesswoman. The 54-year-old parliamentarian shot into the national spotlight during the 2007 general elections, when she was voted from the Gao constituency of northern Mali, a region that is "100% Muslim," as she told the French weekly, Jeune Afrique. A diminutive woman popularly known by her nickname, “Chato”, Cissé is running as an independent and her chances of winning the 2013 race without the machinery and backing of a political party are slim. But Cissé maintains that she has the support of women’s and youth groups as well as ordinary Malians who would like to see a fresh face in politics.

Niankoro Yeah Samaké: Dubbed "Mali’s only Mormon presidential candidate,” Samaké is certainly not a frontrunner in the 2013 race, but he has nevertheless excited the US press. At 44, Samaké is the youngest presidential candidate. Born into a poor family in Ouéléssébougou in southwestern Mali, Samaké’s life took an unusual turn when he met a Mormon couple from Colorado while working for the NGO, Ouéléssébougou-Utah Alliance. The couple sponsored his trip to the US, where he earned a master’s degree at Brigham Young University and converted to Mormonism, married, and settled in Utah before returning to Mali, where he was voted Ouéléssébougou mayor in 2009. Samaké does not believe his Mormon faith hinders his political ambitions in a Muslim-dominated country. “I was elected mayor in Ouéléssébougou, a town where 90 percent of the population is Muslim,” he told the US daily, The Christian Science Monitor. “My faith is not a problem! In fact it will help me win the elections.”

Cheick Modibo Diarra: This 61-year-old astrophysicist has had a successful career in the US - at NASA and Microsoft (he was appointed director of Microsoft Africa in 2006), before entering politics in his native Mali. On April 17, 2012, he was appointed interim prime minister shortly after the military junta led by Captain Amadou Sanogo officially handed control to a civilian transitional administration. But barely eight months later, he was placed under house arrest by soldiers loyal to Capt. Sanogo. Shortly after his arrest, Diarra appeared on state television and announced his resignation and that of his government. Diarra is the son-in-law of Moussa Traore, a former Malian coup leader and president, and also holds US citizenship.

Dramane Dembélé: The 46-year-old engineer by training is the surprise candidate for Mali’s largest Adéma (Alliance for Democracy in Mali) party. Although Dembélé does not have extensive political experience, he is believed to have close links to Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traoré.

Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page

Connect With Us

Elections In Africa Calendar

Elections In Africa-Facts Sheet