3rd place Mali candidate backs front-runner

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Associated Press

Posted on August 3, 2013 at 11:33 AM

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The third-place finisher in Mali's presidential election is throwing his support behind the front-runner ahead of the runoff vote.

Dramane Dembele, the candidate of the country's largest political party, said Saturday that he would be backing Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, known by his initials IBK.

The front-runner received about 39 percent of the July 28 vote — failing to win outright and forcing an Aug. 11 runoff election.

Dembele called on his supporters to back Keita, saying the front-runner was best suited to bring peace and stability to the country.

Mali's presidential election comes 16 months after the democratically elected president of the West African nation was overthrown.

The French military later launched an operation to oust al-Qaida-linked militants who gained control of Mali's north after the coup.

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