Mali’s progress toward elections insufficient – West Africa Bloc

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West Africa’s main regional bloc has shown concern towards Mali’s transitional government, stating that it has not made sufficient progress toward organising elections in February, as agreed after a military coup last year.

Mali’s transition back to democracy following the August 2020 overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is being closely watched in a region that has experienced four coups since last year, most recently on Sunday in Guinea.

After the coup, Mali’s military leaders agreed, under pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to an 18-month transition, culminating in presidential and legislative elections in February 2022.

But various electoral deadlines, including the start of updates to voter rolls and the presentation of a new constitution, have not been met.

“The mission remains concerned by the insufficiency of concrete actions in the preparation of the electoral process,” ECOWAS said in a statement at the end of a visit by an ECOWAS delegation led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mali’s government has said it is conscious of its commitment to the electoral deadline, however, some officials have also suggested it might not be respected.

“Technically, the timeline is not feasible, unless things are done sloppily, resulting in the usual post-electoral crises,” Bassirou Ben Doumbia, a political analyst, told Reuters.