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2 Apr, 2024 09:27

Dozens of political parties demand presidential election in Mali

The official transition period decreed by the former French colony’s military government expired on March 26
Dozens of political parties demand presidential election in Mali

Multiple political coalitions and civic groups in Mali have called for presidential elections to be held as soon as possible in order to return the West African country, which has remained under the control of the military since August 2020, to democratic rule.

The demands were announced in separate statements late Sunday by the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Mali (RDDHM), comprised of around fifty local organizations, as well as a group of political parties with over 20 signatories.

The current transitional government, which was installed following a second coup in 2021, had promised a 24-month transition period ending March 26, 2024, with elections in February, following pressure from the Economic Community of West African States, a regional bloc.

However, last September, the military leaders announced they were “slightly” delaying the voting citing “technical reasons,” including the adoption of a new constitution, the updating of election lists, and issues with a census database. 

On Sunday, the Sahel nation’s main political parties and civic groups asked the military rulers to set up an institutional framework and, with “immediate effect,” organize presidential elections.

“The country is going through enormous difficulties and the transition is not intended to resolve all of the country’s problems. It is time to end this impasse, especially since the last postponement of the transition expired on March 26,” RDDHM stated.

“We find ourselves in a rather unclear situation. So if nothing is done, we said that in the second step we will appeal to all legal and legitimate voices,” the political group, including the toppled ex-president’s party, also declared.

Mali experienced back-to-back coups in 2020 and 2021, both led by Colonel Assimi Goita, the country’s current interim president. The second coup in May 2021 resulted in the removal of the former French colony’s interim civilian leaders, who had been appointed following the first. The military actions have strained relations between France and Bamako, with the coup leaders ordering French troops to leave the country, citing their inability to combat a decade-long jihadist insurgency in the Sahel.

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