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Mali junta delays elections again, with no date in sight

September 25, 2023

Mali's military leadership has said presidential elections could not be held on schedule due to "technical" reasons. Since taking power in 2020, the junta has promised to hold elections, but has repeatedly issued delays.

Abdoulaye Maiga speaking on state television
Abdoulaye Maiga is a spokesperson for Mali's ruling juntaImage: picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mali's military junta  on Monday said it would postpone presidential elections planned for February 2024, citing "technical reasons."

The elections were meant to be held on February 4, 2024, with a second round two weeks later. No new date was provided.

Cited reasons for the delay included new rules from the constitution that was approved at a referendum in June and a review of the electoral roll.

Mali is also locked in a dispute with French company Idemia that operates the country's census database.

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

Elections repeatedly delayed

Mali witnessed two military coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

Since then, the transition back to democracy has been repeatedly delayed. A constitutional referendum planned for February 2023 was not held until June, while local elections planned for June have still not taken place.

Authorities have also refused organize legislative elections before the postponed presidential election.

Other elections will be held on a schedule "established by the new authorities, under the directives of the new president," Maiga said.

Mali: Are locals who supported the UN mission in danger?

Mali's military leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, has requested that the United Nations withdraw its 12,000 peacekeepers from the country by the end of the year.

Mali has turned away from its former colonizer, France, in the fight against Islamist militants, and has instead turned politically and militarily towards Russia.

That includes enlisting mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who have been linked to human rights abuses in the Sahelian country.

zc/wmr (AFP, Reuters, dpa)