Mali: Do the arguments of the authorities to justify the postponement of the presidential election hold?

The transitional government announced on Monday that the presidential election scheduled for next February was postponed, to a date that has not been set. This means that the transition period is extended, we do not yet know until when. To justify this postponement, the transitional authorities did not talk about security or politics but put forward very technical arguments, related to the organization of the election.

The leader of the Malian junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta. ANNIE RISEMBERG AFP/File

By: David Baché


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The Malian transitional authorities want to incorporate into the electoral law the provisions of the new Constitution, promulgated in July. Ibrahima Sangho chairs the Observatory for Elections and Good Governance in Mali. He recognizes this need, but does not see what prevents him from doing so by February, the date initially set for the presidential election:

« The authorities have had the whole month of August, September, and they will even have the month of October. In the old Constitution, it was written that the period between the two rounds was two weeks. In the new Constitution, it is stated that the second round will take place three weeks after the proclamation of the final results of the first set by the Constitutional Court. This is the only amendment that needs to be made in the electoral law to comply with the Constitution. »

The National Transitional Council, the legislative body of the Transition, has a session scheduled for next month, in October. In the past, some texts have also been adopted at special sessions.

The electoral college must be convened three months before the presidential election, so the transitional authorities are free to bring the electoral law into line with the new Constitution.

The Ravec file has experienced other malfunctions

To justify the extension of the transition, the authorities in Bamako also indicate that they want to take into account the next revision of the electoral lists, scheduled for October-December. They mainly accuse a French company of retaining the Ravec file, the administrative census for civil status, which would have been stopped since last March.

Without entering into the debate on the responsibility of the situation - Bamako acknowledges owing more than five billion FCFA to this company - Ibrahima Sangho notes that this Ravec file has experienced in the past many dysfunctions, and that they have not prevented the organization of various elections. In 2016, 2018, 2020... or more recently, last June, for the constitutional referendum, wanted by the transitional authorities.

« The current government says that the Ravec file has been problematic from March 2023. While the electoral register was extracted from the same Ravec file for the referendum vote. And the consensus had been reached with the political parties to say that the Ravec file had imperfections but that we could go with it to the vote. Today, to say that we need a new database has not been posed by political consensus. »

Ibrahima Sango, on the other hand, advocates a real revision of the civil status file. A job that, according to this electoral expert, requires several years.

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