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Mali’s military council sets June 18 as the date for the referendum on the constitution


Mali’s ruling military council announced on Friday that the referendum on a new constitution will be held on June 18, after it was initially scheduled for March 19, in an important entitlement towards the return of civilians to power in a country facing jihadist attacks and a deep, multifaceted crisis.

“The electorate is called on Sunday, June 18, 2023 in all parts of the country and in the diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Mali to pass the draft constitution,” read a decree read by government spokesman Colonel Abdullahi Maiga on state television.

Elections in February 2024

He indicated that members of the security forces would vote in advance on June 11th.

This referendum is the first step approved by voting on a schedule of consultations and reforms issued by the colonels that would lead to elections in February 2024 with the aim of returning civilians to power.

By postponing the referendum, the military who came to power by force in August 2020 raised doubts about their full commitment to the timetable.

However, the Military Council, which has ruled countries facing jihadist attacks and plunged since 2012 into a deep, multifaceted crisis, played down the importance of this delay.

“Voters will have to answer yes or no to the following question: Do you agree with the draft constitution?” Maiga said.

Strengthening the powers of the president

The campaign will open on June 2 at 00:00 (local time and GMT) and end at midnight on June 16.

And Colonel Maiga said when formalizing the postponement of the referendum in March that “the timetable is a tool for planning,” stressing that “the deadline remains the date that we were able to negotiate with the Economic Community of West African States,” noting that “the head of state is committed to Fully respect this date” in 2024.

The timetable set by the military and their promises to abide by it and hand over power to civilians in March 2024 after elections in February persuaded the West African Economic Community in July 2022 to lift the trade and financial sanctions imposed on Mali, a poor, landlocked country suffering from economic stagnation and lack of power. Security.

The West African group, which faced, since the first coup of the Malian colonels in August 2020, a series of coups in the region, imposed these measures in January 2022 when the army planned to remain in power for five years.

The military council justified the postponement of the referendum by the need for sufficient time to appoint representatives of the electoral management body and its desire to familiarize voters with the constitutional text.

This constitution is an essential element in the broad reform project that the army has adhered to in order to justify staying in power until 2024.

The text greatly enhances the authority of the president.

In the new constitution, it is the president, not the government, who “determines the nation’s policy,” appoints the prime minister and ministers, and ends their duties. The President can dissolve the National Assembly.

Since 2012, Mali has witnessed the spread of jihadist groups and violence of all kinds. The Malian military expelled the French soldiers in 2022 in an atmosphere of great tension and asked Russia for military and political assistance.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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