Mali: Elections Postponement in the Horizon

Prime Minister Mali Choguel Maïga made the statement on Sunday, September 26, 2021.

Presidential and Parliamentary elections scheduled for early next year in Mali could be postponed by months. The information was made public by the Prime Minister stressing the need to ensure they are credible before going ahead, "The main thing for us is not to hold elections that would be contested on February 27, but to hold elections that will be transparent even after the agreed date". He stressed. The head of government while speaking during an interview with Radio France International and France24 on Sunday in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, suggested that the elections could be postponed by "two weeks, two months, a few months," adding that a decision will be taken in October following a meeting of a national forum.

Under pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional bloc, Mali's new military leaders agreed to an 18-month transition that would culminate with presidential and legislative elections on Feb. 27, 2022. Though ECOWAS has not yet responded to the Prime Minister's outing in New York, last month the bloc said it would impose sanctions, including asset freezes, on anyone holding up preparations for Mali's elections.

Apart from the postponement of elections, PM Maiga also refuted information that his country was close to a deal with a Russian company, the Wagner Group, to hire private military contractors to help fight Islamist insurgents. "We are at the stage of rumours and often even disinformation," he said. As soon as Mali agrees a deal with any country or partner, it will be announced, he said. Diplomatic and security sources told Reuters that Mali was close to a deal to with the Wagner Group. The possibility of such a deal has triggered opposition from France, which has said the involvement of Russian military contractors was incompatible with a continued French presence in the West African state.

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