Aug. 11 - Poll workers in Mali begin counting votes in Sunday's presidential runoff with former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita tipped to win. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY; Poll workers in Mali began counting votes in Sunday's high stakes presidential runoff, with former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita tipped to claim the difficult job of stabilizing the West African nation after more than a year of turmoil. Voting took place at some 21,000 polling stations across the landlocked nation, from the forested south, home to 90 percent of Mali's 16 million people, to the northern cities of Timbuktu and Gao, where Islamists imposed sharia law. A record 49 percent of 6.8 million registered voters turned out to cast their ballots in the first round of the election last month. Observers told Reuters that participation appeared to be slightly lower for the runoff, but the vote had been peaceful and free of major technical problems. Final results are expected in two or three days, and the constitutional court has until Friday to certify them.