West African Presidents Expected in Mali to Solve Political Crisis

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, president of Mali.

Four African heads of state are expected in Bamako on Thursday to help resolve the political crisis in Mali, as President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita continues to face calls to step down despite recent mediation by the Ecowas regional bloc.

The high-level visit could perhaps be the last chance following the failure of a delegation led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, according to Bamako correspondents Serge Daniel and Coralie Pierret.

The M5 opposition group, made up of politicians, civil society and religious leaders, expressed its dissatisfaction with the plan tabled by Ecowas.

The West African bloc put forward a proposal for a power-sharing government, with those loyal to President Keita holding 50 percent of the ministerial portfolios.

Today, my team continued with our consultation with key stakeholders in the Malian crisis. My meetings with the M5 coalition, the Presidential Majority group and other leaders were fruitful. pic.twitter.com/yL6kNc2gOk - Goodluck E. Jonathan (@GEJonathan) July 16, 2020

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara are expected to arrive in Bamako for talks, to try and push forward negotiations.

Recommendations made by the Ecowas mediation mission remain the basis of any discussions and although, according to a diplomat source, there is no question about agreeing with the departure of Keita, also known as IBK, perhaps there are other areas where progress can be made, according to RFI correspondents.

Constitutional crisis

There remains the judicial element to the crisis. Two judges' unions have said that the reconstitution of the constitutional court based on proposals by Ecowas is unconstitutional. IBK disbanded the country's highest court in the face of protests. Members of the judicial council refused to meet him on Monday.

The constitutional court is itself at the heart of the crisis since it changed election results in several constituencies, invalidating the election of certain lawmakers supposedly in favour of the ruling party.

Without reconstituting the constitutional court, the contentious results cannot be rectified.

Today I received a comprehensive report from the ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, former President @GEJonathan, on the political situation in the country. Regarding the way forward, we will ask the President of Niger, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS, to brief us as a group. pic.twitter.com/13MJPfX4wV - - Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) July 21, 2020

The M5 protest movement declared a truce in protests until the end of July, saying it was always open to dialogue.

Imam Mahmoud Dicko, who has emerged as one of the central figures in the protest movement, met the French and US ambassadors on Monday, as well as those from the European Union.

During a meeting on Monday, the strategic committee of the M5 group decided they would put their campaign of civil disobedience on hold until the end of the month, to enable people to prepare for Eid celebrations.

Demonstrations in Mali since 5 June have urged IBK to step down over problems with insecurity, government corruption and economic hardship.

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