Friday, February 10, 2012

Amadou Toumani Touré

Amadou Toumani Touré (born November 4, 1948) is the president of Mali. He overthrew a military ruler, Moussa Traoré in 1991, then handed power to civilian authorities the next year. He won the presidential elections in 2002, with a broad coalition of support and was easily re-elected in 2007.

Amadou Toumani Touré was born on 4 November 1948, in Mopti, where he attended primary school. Between 1966 and 1969, he attended Badalabougou Standard Secondary School in Bamako in order to become a teacher. Eventually, he joined the army and attended the Kati Inter-Military College. As a member of the Parachute Corps, he rose quickly through the ranks and after numerous training courses in the Soviet Union and France, he became the commander of the parachute commandos in 1984.

In March 1991, after public demonstrations were violently quelled, he participated in a coup d'etat against Moussa Traoré and became leader of the Transitional Committee for the Welfare of the People, and performed the functions of the head of state during the transitional period towards democracy. He organized the national conference (between 29 July and 12 August 1991) which drew up the Constitution of Mali and the legislative and presidential elections in 1992. When the results of the election became known he relinquished power to the newly elected president, Alpha Oumar Konaré. Because of this, he gained the nickname "The Soldier of Democracy."

In June 2001, he became the special envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the Central African Republic after the failed coup attempt there.

In September 2001 he asked for and was granted his expected retirement from the army. He decided to restart his political career by becoming a candidate in the upcoming presidential election. He was elected President of Mali in the 2002 presidential election. In the first round, he placed first with 28.71% of the vote, while in the second round he won 64.35% of the vote, defeating the ADEMA candidate, former cabinet minister Soumaila Cissé, who obtained 35.65% of the vote. Touré was sworn in on June 8, 2002.

His presidency has been rather atypical; he is not a member of any political party and his government has members from all of the political parties in the country. Following his 2002 election, he appointed Ahmed Mohamed ag Hamani to the post of Prime Minister. On April 28, 2004, he was replaced by Ousmane Issoufi Maiga. On September 28, 2007 he was replaced by Modibo Sidibé.

He founded a children's foundation named Fondation pour l'enfance - a name shared with a similar organization, created by former French first-lady Danielle Mitterrand. President Toure now runs his foundation by the proxy of his wife, first lady Toure Lobbo Traore.

Touré announced on March 27, 2007 that he would run for a second term in the April 2007 presidential election. According to final results announced on May 12, Touré won the election with 71.20% of the votes. The main opposition candidate, National Assembly President Ibrahima Boubacar Keïta, won 19.15%; the Front for Democracy and the Republic, a coalition including Keïta and three other candidates, rejected the official results. Foreign observers, however, endorsed the election as free and fair. Touré was sworn in for his second term as President on June 8, 2007, at a ceremony attended by seven other African presidents.

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