On Monday, Soumalia Cisse's concession allows Mali to avoid a protracted election fight and to move ahead with establishing a democratically elected government, one of the international community's caveats for unlocking some USD 4 billion in promised aid.

Keita had been expected to win easily, having pulled nearly 40 percent of the vote in the first round. Most of the other candidates from the first round also had given their endorsements to Keita, who is a former premier.

However, earlier in the day some of Cisse's supporters had raised allegations of ballot stuffing against Keita's party, raising the specter of a legal battle. Not long after Cisse's concession became known, the former finance minister tweeted about his decision to concede.

"My family and I went to the house of Mr. Keita, future president of Mali, to congratulation him for his victory," Cisse wrote. "May God bless Mali."


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