Mali parties express outrage at junta for delaying presidential vote

Malian political factions on Wednesday voiced their anger over the junta’s indefinite postponement of the presidential election, which was intended to restore civilian governance.

The ruling junta, on Monday, disclosed a postponement of the presidential election initially slated for February in the West African nation, which has been grappling with jihadist threats.

A government spokesperson had stated that new dates for the election would be conveyed at a later time.

The rationale behind the postponement encompassed matters related to the recent adoption of a new constitution and the revision of electoral lists that occurred this year.

The spokesperson also mentioned a disagreement with the French company Idemia, which, according to the junta, is engaged in the census process.

The M5-RFP opposition coalition decried the “unilateral” choice to postpone the two rounds of voting, initially scheduled for February 4 and 18, 2024.

Since Monday, additional political parties have voiced their objections to the delay, intensifying the challenges faced by the West African bloc ECOWAS.

ECOWAS has not issued an official response to the recent announcement, but it has exerted pressure on the junta since 2020, advocating for the restoration of civilian leadership.

The 15-member organization, which upholds a “zero tolerance” policy toward coups d’├ętat, has confronted a series of coups, including the initial coup in Bamako, as well as coups in neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger, and Guinea.

The junta’s announcement in Mali constitutes yet another setback to the timeline for the restoration of power to democratically elected civilian authorities.

The military personnel, responsible for consecutive coups in 2020 and 2021, had previously pledged to hold legislative elections in February 2022.

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