BAMAKO : 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, a former prime minister, vowed to work for African unity as he began his five-year term in the presence of outgoing transitional leader Dioncounda Traore and more than 1,000 Malian politicians, diplomats and military personnel at a ceremony in the capital Bamako.

“I swear before God and the people of Mali to faithfully preserve the republican regime, to respect and uphold the constitution and the law, to fulfil my duties in the best interests of the people, to preserve the democratic gains, to ensure national unity, independence of the country and the integrity of the national territory,” he said.

Guests at the ceremony included former minister Soumaila Cisse, resoundingly beaten by 68-year-old Keita in an election run-off on August 11, and former president Moussa Traore, overthrown in March 1991 by a military coup after 23 years in power.

The oath-taking ceremony followed a handover at the headquarters of the Malian presidency in Koulouba, near Bamako, where Traore officially ceded power to Keita.