A french soldier during a patrol in Mali. Picture: FRED MARIA/GETTY IMAGES
A french soldier during a patrol in Mali. Picture: FRED MARIA/GETTY IMAGES

Bamako — Mali’s interim government has fixed a date for general elections which will mark a return to civilian rule after a military coup in 2020.

The West African nation will hold a presidential and parliamentary vote on February 27 2022, minister for territorial administration Abdoulaye Maiga told journalists in the capital, Bamako, Thursday.

Second-round polls will be held on March 13 and March 20 respectively, where relevant, Maiga said. A referendum to review the constitution is also scheduled for October 31 2021, with local and regional elections scheduled to take place on December 26.

Mali is planning a return to civilian rule after an August 18 coup overthrew former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The transitional council governing the country is now made up of a mix of military and civilian members.

The Economic Community of West African States had called on the military junta to organise elections within 18 months after the putsch. The 15-member bloc took a hard line against Mali, temporarily shutting borders and halting financial flows last year to force a return to democratic rule. Partners such as the US have also put pressure for elections to be held.

Unrest in Mali has destabilised regional security in the past. The country has been a linchpin of international efforts, involving France and the EU, to defeat insurgents in the semi-arid Sahel, which is headed for its deadliest year of Islamist-militant violence, with a record number of civilians killed in the first three months of 2021.



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