Mali: political parties reject the army’s five-year transition plan to democracy
Mali’s main political parties have said no to the military government’s five-year plan for the transition to civilian rule. Since August 2020, the army has carried out two coups d’état and postponed the elections.
A large coalition of political parties in Mali has rejected plans by the military-led government for a slow transition to democratic rule.
The military plan says the transition could take up to five years.
According to his plan, a constitutional referendum would take place in 2023 and legislative elections in 2025. A presidential election would only take place in 2026.
The junta called its proposal “appropriate to drive political and institutional reforms.”
What is the political situation in Mali?
The army has controlled Mali since August 2020. During this period, the army carried out two coups d’état and postponed the elections previously scheduled for the next month that it had pledged to hold.
Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop on Saturday submitted the government’s transition plans to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Diop forwarded the document despite a boycott of the national reform conference by political parties and non-governmental organizations.
ECOWAS has threatened the country’s military leaders with sanctions for postponing the elections.
On January 9, ECOWAS will hold a summit in the Ghanaian capital of Accra on the situation in Mali.
The military government had hoped to extend the transition period by five years from the start of the new year on January 1.
Why did the Malian political parties reject the army’s plan?
A 10-party coalition said the plan violates the transitional charter and “has not been discussed in Mali and can in no way be the deep desire of the Malian people.”
The coalition said in a statement that it “rejects this unilateral and unreasonable timetable”.
Sekou Niame Bathily, spokesperson for the coalition, told AFP that the coalition hopes “to organize the elections quickly”.
What forces are competing for power in Mali?
In August 2020, Colonel Assimi Goita overthrew former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. This coup follows weeks of anti-corruption protests and Keita’s response to a violent jihadist insurgency.
France and countries bordering Mali have forced Goita’s hand to pledge that Mali will return to democratic civilian rule next month after presidential and legislative elections.
Instead of adhering to this transition plan, Goita instead staged another coup in May 2021 that forced the interim civilian leaders and pushed back the transition timeline.
The army said insecurity in northern Mali was the main driver behind the postponement of elections.
The government does not control half of Malian territory.
Various armed groups are vying for power, including groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State.
What Western forces are involved in Mali?
In Germany, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces Eva Högl said the Bundeswehr, or German army, should assess its role in Mali and consider ending its military operations there.
The Bundeswehr has just over 1,350 troops in Mali involved in the UN mission and the EU training mission.
The French army is in the process of putting an end to its operations in Mali after helping to oust militants from power in the north of the country in 2013.
Some fear that the withdrawal of Western forces will leave a power vacuum that will only contribute to insecurity, as has happened elsewhere, such as in Afghanistan.
ar / rc (AFP, AP, dpa)