BAMAKO – Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won Mali’s presidency after his opponent conceded defeat late Monday.

Former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse, who had denounced electoral fraud during the first round, congratulated his rival on his victory in Sunday’s second round. Cisse told the AFP: “My family and I went and congratulated [Ibrahim Boubacar Keita] and wished him good look.”

"My family and I went and congratulated Mr Keita, the future president of Mali, on his victory. May God bless Mali"

Keita, known by his initials, IBK, had been expected to win the vote as he was backed by 22 of the 25 candidates who did not qualify for the second round. However, the newly elected president was pleased by the conduct of the elections and the visit of his opponent, the local newswebsite, Journal du Mali, reports. "That is a symbol of the new Mali," Keita said Monday evening.

The hardest part is still to come for the new Malian president. Indeed the election comes only a year-and-a-half after a military coup and eight months after a French-led intervention to oust Islamist rebels from the North of the country. 

To help rebuild the state, Keita will have at his disposal more than $4 billion in foreign aid promised after a democratically elected government would be established in Mali.