Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Coalition representing various political parties is opposed to the proposed extension of five years to democratic transition period.

A large coalition of political parties in Mali has rejected that of the military-dominated government plans to extend a transition period for up to five years before the country returns to democratic rule.

The coalition, known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), said in a statement on Sunday that the “one-sided and unreasonable” grid is contrary to the transitional charter “and can in no way be the deep desire of the Malian people ”.

“[We] reserves the right to use all possible legal means to ensure that the democratic principles gained through a long struggle and numerous sacrifices will not be erased by attempts to confiscate power through violence and fraud, ”the CNSP added , representing about 10 parties.

The transitional government initially agreed to hold presidential and legislative elections in February 2022, amid pressure of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)’s regional bloc.

Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop presented the new plans to ECOWAS on Saturday, following a national reform conference boycotted by political parties and social organizations.

The plans envisage reversing an extension of six months to five years from the transition period, which begins on January 1, and a promise to have an 18-month transitional government.

ECOWAS, which has threatened to impose further sanctions on Mali’s ruling military government for postponing the elections, will hold an extraordinary summit on Mali in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on January 9.

Colonel Assimi Goita has effectively led Mali since a coup in August 2020 that removed former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after weeks of street protests against alleged corruption and the government’s handling of a years-long conflict with armed groups.

Under pressure from former colonial power France and Mali’s neighbors, Goita promised that Mali would return to civilian rule after holding presidential and legislative elections in February this year.

But he carried out a de facto second coup in May 2021, when he pushed aside the interim president who took over after Keita’s removal and accepted the post himself. Goita initially promised that the February election would be held as planned, but the government has since cited persistent uncertainty in Mali’s quiet north in its decision to postpone the polls.

Large parts of the country’s territory remain out of government control as self-defense militias and armed men linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) break out. violence against civilians and soldiers.

The violence, in which ideologically-motivated armed groups fueled ethnic tensions as they rushed to power, spilled over into neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso, destabilizing the wider Sahel region and leaving a massive humanitarian crisis in its wake.

France has thousands of troops deployed across the Sahel to fight armed groups, but it was to scale down his presence in northern Mali almost nine years after his military intervention.

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