Mali political parties demand elections

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Following years of military rule, political parties in Mali have requested a time frame for presidential elections in efforts to transition back to democracy reports Reuters.

Since August 2020, Mali has been under military rule, the first of eight coups in West and Central Africa over four years, including in its neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger.

Some of Mali’s main political parties and civil society groups called on authorities to set up an industrial framework for polls immediately, in a joint statement on March 31st.

“We will use all legal and legitimate avenues for the return of normal constitutional order in our country,” said their statement. The statement has over 20 signatures, including the toppled ex-president’s party and a major opposition coalition, however, the junta has not reacted.

READ: Mali: Coalition of armed groups rep are to clash with junta

During a second coup in 2021, Mali’s current junta seized power and promised to restore civilian rule over a period of 24 months from March 2022 to March 26th 2024.

The interim governments have hesitated as regional blocs have tried to negotiate transitions. It passed a new electoral law in June 2022 but in September 2023 said it had postponed the February elections for technical reasons.

This prompted stiff sanctions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and sparked outrage among many political groups.

Many were outraged again after February’s transition deadline lapsed without a vote.

This damaged relations with former colonial power France, which withdrew forces in 2022 that had been fighting a spiralling 12-year-old Islamist insurgency in the region.

ECOWAS eventually lifted Mali’s sanctions after the new electoral law was published.

READ: ECOWAS lifts sanctions against Guinea and Mali

Meanwhile, Junta-led Chad is scheduled to hold the first round of a presidential election in May in what would be the first of the region’s military governments to restore constitutional rule.

Reuters.


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