Mali Political Parties to Challenge Junta's Order Suspending Political Activities

Political parties and civil society groups in Mali have rejected the suspension of political activities by the country's military rulers and plan to mount a legal challenge to the order from the junta which also banned media coverage of political parties.

In a declaration, parties and civil society groups said they were astonished by the decree issued Wednesday suspending all activities by political parties and groups, until further notice.

The signatories to the declaration called the decision a "serious violation... of democratic freedoms."

The junta justified suspending political activities in order to maintain public order, though the decree comes as political groups and civil society organisations have been pushing for the junta to organise elections, to return the country to civilian rule.

Mali has been under military rule since a first coup in 2020. In September the junta indefinitely postponed elections promised for February, citing technical reasons.

In an online post senior opposition politician Housseini Guindo called out "dictatorial drift" and said it was time for people "to resist this ignominy and initiate civil disobedience until the fall of the illegal and illegitimate regime".

On Thursday Mali's high authority for communication issued a statement calling on "all media (radio, television, written press and online) to halt broadcast and publication of the activities of political parties and the activities of a political nature of associations".

It did not indicate what would happen to media organisations that did not observe the ban.

The political parties and civil society groups said they would challenge the decree in court, and refuse to participate in any government activity, including ongoing national talks.

(with Reuters)

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