Mali proposes West African bloc to delay elections by five years

The transitional government initially agreed to hold presidential and legislative elections in February 2022, 18 months after Colonel Asimi Goita overthrew President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita.
It has made little progress since then, blaming a bout of disorder and Islamic violence. A convention charged with recommending election timetables said on Thursday that elections should be delayed between six months and five years.
After a meeting with Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, president of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said he had proposed an upper limit to that gap.

“What was put in place was a period of five years. That was the issue that was presented,” Diop said in comments broadcast by the state-run television network. “But there is a question of indicating that in this period, it is the maximum.”

An ECOWAS spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. The organization has been struggling to hold the line against military coups in a region that had recently appeared to abandon its reputation as Africa’s “coup belt”.
Goita conducted a second coup in May 2021, when he pushed aside the interim president who had taken office after Keita’s ouster and took the job himself. Guinea’s military also overthrew President Alpha Condé in September.

ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Malian authorities over delaying elections and promised more if Mali does not plan for February elections by the end of 2021.

Mali’s actions have also deepened tensions with former colonial power France, which has thousands of troops stationed in West Africa’s Sahel region to fight Islamist rebels.

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