The ruling junta in Mali has announced; Monday the postponement of the presidential election scheduled for February 2024 and supposed to mark the return of civilians to the country. the head of this country prey to jihadism and a deep multidimensional crisis.
This is a new postponement on the part of the colonels in relation to the commitments made under pressure from the community of West African countries ECOWAS with a view to a transfer of power.
The dates initially set for February 4 and 18, 2024 for the two rounds “will be slightly postponed for technical reasons”, said government spokesperson Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, in a statement read before journalists in Bamako.
The authorities cite among these “technical reasons” factors linked to the adoption in 2023 of a new Constitution and the revision of the electoral lists , but also a dispute with a French company, Idemia, involved according to them in the census process.
“The new dates of the presidential election will subject (of a) press release later”, said the government.
The authorities are also refusing to organize legislative elections before the presidential election, initially scheduled for the end of 2023.
Voters consult the electoral lists before a referendum on the Constitution, June 18, 2023 in Bamako, Mali © AFP – OUSMANE MAKAVELI
The government “decides to organize, exclusively, the presidential election to exit the Transition. The other elections will certainly be the subject of another chronogram (calendar) which will be established by the new authorities, under the directives of the new president of the Republic”, said the press release.
This is a further delay on the timetable announced by the junta.
Authors of successive coups in August 2020 and May 2021, the military first committed to giving way to elected civilians after presidential elections and legislative elections initially scheduled for February 2022.
But the junta led by Colonel Assimi Goïta finally announced at the end of 2021 that it was unable to respect the timetable agreed with ECOWAS. She had even considered remaining for several more years, time, according to her, to carry out the necessary profound reforms.
– “Peaceful and secure” –
ECOWAS then imposed heavy commercial and financial sanctions at the beginning of 2022 which had severely affected Mali, a poor and landlocked country. She lifted them the following July when the colonels agreed to leave in March 2024, and announced an electoral calendar setting the presidential election for February 2024.
ECOWAS in the face of coups © AFP – Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA
The junta also set a constitutional referendum for March 2023 which finally took place in June. Critics of the new Constitution describe it as tailor-made for keeping the colonels in power beyond the presidential election.
Since the seizure of power by the Malian colonels , West Africa has seen a succession of military coups, in Burkina Faso and Niger, also hit by jihadism and violence, but also in Guinea.
In all these countries, the military says it is carrying out “transitions” before a return to “constitutional order”.
The Malian presidential election is postponed while the country remains in faces violence in the center and east, and faces a resumption of hostilities in the north by separatist groups and an intensification of jihadist activities.
Mali: Timbuktu under jihadist blockade © AFP – Source AFP
The regions of Timbuktu and Gao have been the scene of a succession of attacks since August against Malian army positions and against civilians.
< p>The junta pushed the French anti-jihadist force towards the exit in 2022 and the UN mission in 2023. It turned politically and militarily towards Russia.
< p>The government press release does not refer to recent security developments. The head of the junta intends to “make a return to a peaceful and secure constitutional order, after having carried out priority institutional political reforms”, he said.
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