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Over 80 parties, NGOs demand election in Mali

More than 80 political parties and civil groups in Mali joined together to issue statements calling for a presidential election “as soon as possible” ending…

More than 80 political parties and civil groups in Mali joined together to issue statements calling for a presidential election “as soon as possible” ending transitional military rule.

The country has been ruled by a junta since back-to-back coups in 2020 and 2021, with the security situation compounded by a humanitarian and political crisis.

In June 2022, the junta, led by Colonel Assimi Goita, decreed that the military would transfer power back to civilians on March 26 at the end of a transition period after a presidential election in February.

The election was postponed, however, and the junta gave no further indication as to what its intentions were.

In two separate press releases, dozens of political and civil groups highlighted that the transition period ended on March 26.

In a statement released on Sunday evening, the first group, made up of organisations and political parties in Mali, called on the junta “to create the conditions for rapid and inclusive dialogue, for the establishment of an institutional architecture and with immediate effect organise a presidential election”.

In a separate statement, the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Mali (RDDHM), which brings together 50 local organisations, issued the same appeal to the junta.

“The country is going through enormous difficulty and the transition is not intended to resolve all the country’s problems. It is time to end this impasse, especially since the last postponement of the transition expired on March 26,” said RDDHM’s president Souleymane Camara, who called for a return to “constitutional order.”

Voices from the opposition have become rare under junta rule, as they have become stifled by injunctions for national unity and repressive measures.

Last week, the junta banned the activities of a rare new opposition coalition in Bamako citing “threats of disturbance to public order”.

The group is highly critical of the junta and has proposed “a new way” for Malians who have seen the country ravaged by different groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group since 2012.

The UN said in a statement issued in March that at least four organisations have been dissolved since December 2023, including groups relating to good governance, elections and opposition.

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