Mali: elections compromised by the security situation

Is Mali preparing people’s minds for a postponement sine die elections? Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop cast new doubts on Monday, October 11, about the holding of elections scheduled for February 2022, rejecting the “diktat” partners from his country. He hinted that the presidential and legislative polls on February 27 may not be held “if the security situation is not taken care of”, during a press briefing with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in Rabat. “We have an additional challenge that came with the disengagement of the French partner which risks creating a security vacuum that the Malian state must fill”, said Abdoulaye Diop.

“Additional challenge”

Paris has undertaken to reorganize its military system in the Sahel, notably by leaving the northernmost bases of Mali (Kidal, Timbuktu and Tessalit) and by planning to reduce its personnel in the region by 2023 to 2,500-3,000 men, compared to more than 5,000 today.

“We have committed to a calendar to hold the elections in February. We are in this momentum but (…) this dogmatic approach of saying ‘it’s February 27 or nothing’, I believe that our partners take a step back to look at the whole situation “

Abdoulaye Diop, Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs

to AFP

“Malian solution”

The minister responds, behind the scenes, to the international community, which is expressing growing concerns about meeting deadlines. “Let’s try to help Malians find a Malian solution to their problems, he pleaded again, because Malians have the feeling that every time it’s partners outside Mali who give us the prescriptions, and often that doesn’t work. ”

Following the putsch of August 18, 2020, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took essentially economic sanctions and suspended Mali from the organization. These sanctions were lifted following the commitment of the military led by Colonel Assimi Goïta on the way to a transition of up to 18 months. But since then, Colonel Goïta has led a new coup in May by deposing the transitional president Bah Ndaw and his Prime Minister Moctar Ouane. During a summit on September 16 in Accra, the regional organization demanded from the Malian military the “strict adherence to the timetable for the transition” towards the reestablishment of civil power.

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The ruling military pledged to return power to civilians and hold national elections in February 2022 following a “transition” limited to 18 months, but compliance with this commitment is increasingly questionable.

“The state of mind must change. Let us get out of the prescription, the diktat, the invectives, the ultimatums, to enter into the framework of a dialogue and a sincere listening with the Malians”

Abdoulaye Diop, Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs

to AFP

Mali, plunged into a deep security and political crisis since the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies in the north of the country in 2012, was the scene of two military coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

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