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Election offers new start for Mali, but no 'magic wand'

A boy on a bicycle peeks out from underneath a French soldier on patrol in an armored personnel carrier in Timbuktu, July 25.
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
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.

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