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Mali proposes five-year election delay to West African bloc

Mali’s interim authorities have proposed to its West African neighbors that a transition back to democracy following a 2020 military coup be extended by five years, the foreign minister said in comments broadcast on Saturday.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Mali’s foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop said that the transitional government had initially agreed to hold presidential and legislative elections in February 2022, 18 months after Colonel Assimi Goita led the overthrow of President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita.

However, little progress since then, blaming disorganization and a rash of violence.

A conference charged with recommending an election timetable said on Thursday the polls should be delayed by between six months and five years, Reuters reported. Following a meeting with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, the chair of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mali’s foreign minister said he had proposed the upper bound of that interval.

“What was retained was a duration of five years. That’s the issue that was presented,” Diop said in comments broadcast by the state-run television network.

“But it’s a question of indicating that this period, it’s the maximum,” he added.

ECOWAS has imposed sanctions on Malian officials for election delays and promised more if Mali did not produce a plan for the February elections by the end of 2021.


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