Election offers new start for Mali, but no ‘magic wand’

Ahead of Mali's presidential election people search for their names on lists that indicate where to vote, in Timbuktu on July 26, 2013. Joe Penney / Reuters
A boy on a bicycle peeks out from underneath a French soldier on patrol in an armored personnel carrier in Timbuktu, July 25. Joe Penney / Reuters

When Mali imploded last year - its president ousted by mutinous soldiers and its north seized by separatist and Islamist rebels - many called for an overhaul of the West African state's flawed democracy, once held up as a model of stability.

Sunday's presidential election in the Sahel state, which experienced turmoil and conflict for over a year, including a French-led military intervention from January, provides the chance for a fresh start to rebuild and unite the nation.

"The president will have five years to reconcile Malians, reform the army and put the economy back on track," said Djibril Kone, a businessman in the capital. "It is an enormous task so we should be realistic. There will be no magic wand." Read the full story.