Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The transitional government initially agreed to hold presidential and legislative elections in February 2022 amid pressure from ECOWAS.

Mali’s interim authorities suggested to its West African neighbors that a transition back to democracy after a military coup in 2020 extended by five years, the foreign minister said in comments broadcast Saturday.

The transitional government initially agreed to hold presidential and legislative elections in February 2022, 18 months after Colonel Assimi Goita led the overthrow of President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita.

It has since made little progress, blaming disorganization and an outbreak of violence.

A conference charged with recommending an election roster on Thursday said polls should be delayed by between six months and five years.

After a meeting with the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, the chairperson of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said he had the upper limit of that interval.

“What was retained was a duration of five years. This is the issue that was presented, “Diop said in comments broadcast by the state-run television network.

“But it’s an issue to indicate that this period is the maximum.”

An ECOWAS spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The organization is struggle to keep the line against military coups in a region that until recently apparently abolished its reputation as Africa’s “coup belt”.

Goita carried out a second coup in May 2021 when he pushed aside the interim president who took over after Keita’s removal and accepted the post himself. Guinea’s military also overthrew President Alpha Conde in September.

ECOWAS has imposed sanctions on Malaysian officials for electoral delays and promised more if Mali did not draw up a plan for the February election by the end of 2021.

Mali’s actions also exacerbated tensions with the former colonial power France, which has thousands of troops deployed across West Africa’s Sahel region to fight armed groups.

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