Leader of Mali’s junta signs election law letting him run
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali’s junta leader, Col. Assimi Goita, signed a new law Friday paving the way for elections and a return of the country to constitutional rule. Col. Goita’ has been president of the transitional government since seizing power in a coup two years ago.
The law would also allow him and other military members of the transitional government to run in 2024, when the next presidential election is scheduled, according to a copy of the new legislation seen by The Associated Press.
West Africa’s regional bloc, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), imposed stiff sanctions on Mali earlier this year after military rulers refused to hold elections in February as planned.
The new law creates a single election management body to replace a contested three-party system, and details the steps that would lead to elections. It’s meant to signal the junta’s willingness to return to constitutional rule and convince ECOWAS to ease sanctions, according to state media.
However, the fact that junta leaders would be able to run for office could derail the democratic process and cast doubt on the country’s future return to stability, said Abdrahmane Diarra, youth president for the Union for the Republic and Democracy, a political party.
But conflict analysts say the concern is not about who is running or not, but finding a leader who is going to unite the country and help it emerge from its current security and political crises.
“Goita or another leader wouldn’t matter as long as tangible results are there and signs of stability start to be apparent,” said Rida Lyammouri, senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, a Moroccan based organization focused on economics and policy.