Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was sworn in on Wednesday as Mali\’s new president after winning a landslide victory in elections called to turn the page on months of political chaos and conflict.
Keita vowed to protect democratic gains and rebuild national unity during a small ceremony Wednesday in the capital, Bamako. The new president also promised to fight corruption, saying no one will ever get rich off public funds again.
Guests at the ceremony included Keita\’s election rival, Soumaila Cisse, and outgoing transitional leader Dioncounda Traore, who Keita saluted for keeping the country together in the face of numerous challenges.
A full inauguration celebration, attended by world leaders, is expected to take place later this month.
Keita, a one-time prime minister and former president of the National Assembly, won the August 11th run-off election with 77 percent of votes. His victory came with support from Muslim religious leaders, the military and most of his first-round rivals.
He faces the task of reuniting Mali after 20 months of unrest that included a Tuareg rebellion, the overthrow of President Amadou Toure and a takeover of the north by Islamist militants, who were later ousted by a French-led military offensive.
After forming his government, Keita will have 60 days to open what are expected to be difficult negotiations with an armed Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA, and its allies in the far northern region of Kidal.
A 12,600-strong United Nations peace force is currently deploying to the West African nation, as France begins to withdraw its 3,000 remaining troops.