Mali's junta delays February presidential election

AFP , Monday 25 Sep 2023

Mali's ruling junta on Monday announced it would delay a presidential election scheduled for February that was aimed at returning civilian leaders to power in the jihadist-hit West African nation.

Government spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga told reporters presidential elections would be postponed due to technical issues. AFPTV screenshot


The two rounds -- initially set for February 4 and 18, 2024 -- "will be slightly postponed for technical reasons", government spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga told reporters.

Those reasons include issues linked to the adoption this year of a new constitution and a review of the electoral lists, he said.

He also cited a dispute with French company Idemia, which the junta says is involved in the census process.

"The new dates for the presidential election will be communicated later," Maiga said.

Looking back, Mali is in the throes of a nearly 11-year-old security crisis triggered by a regional revolt in the north that developed into a full-blown jihadist insurgency.

Thousands have died, hundreds of thousands have fled their homes and devastating economic damage has been inflicted to one of the world's poorest countries.

Central Mali, an ethnic mosaic, is one of the most troubled regions, and in 2015 became the springboard for an extension of the insurgency into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Since August 2020, Mali has been ruled by the military, leading to a bustup with France, the country's traditional ally, and close ties with Russia.

A UN report presented to the Security Council on 11 Jan. said the security situation has "continued to deteriorate in (the) central Sahel, notably in Burkina Faso and Mali."

"In Mali, following the departure of international forces, armed groups have advanced in the east, gaining control of large areas bordering the Niger," the report said.

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