Mali’s opposition, civil society groups demand democratic elections

Bamako, Apr. 2, (dpa/GNA) – A coalition of Malian opposition parties and civil society organizations called for democratic elections in the country which is ruled by the military.

Mali’s transitional military government, which seized power almost three years ago, should have organized elections by March 26 at the latest, the organizations said in a joint statement published during the night.

As this did not happen, they will use “all available legal means” to set a date for elections, they said.

The transitional government headed by Colonel Assimi Goïta announced a transitional phase of a further 24 months on March 26, 2022, 10 months after seizing power in a coup d’état.

However, in September 2023, the military in the West African crisis state postponed a presidential election scheduled for February 2024 “for technical reasons” without giving a new date.

Mali is a former French colony and used to work closely with France and other European powers. However, since the coup, the Malian army has systematically distanced itself from its former partners and drawn closer to Moscow’s mercenaries instead.

The Malian army is fighting alongside Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group against Islamist groups as well as rebels from the separatist Tuareg, who reneged on a 2015 peace deal.

The security situation in Mali has deteriorated since the end of 2023, when the UN stabilization mission MINUSMA ended after 10 years.

Islamist terrorist groups, some of which are allied with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorist militia, have been spreading in Mali and neighbouring countries since then, and the conflict between the state and Tuareg threatens to resurface again.