Mali junta defies pressure on return to civilian rule
After four days of talks, military-dominated government and other players propose a transition period of up to five years
Mali’s military-dominated government on Saturday proposed a five-year transition period, defying international pressure to meet a February deadline for a return to civilian rule.
“We’re suggesting a transition period of five years,” Mali’s foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop told public broadcaster Office de Radio et Television du Mali after meeting representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
“This in line with the outcome of the National Refoundation Meeting with regard to the duration of the transition. This will then form the base for further talks and dialogue with Ecowas,” Diop said
Political and civil society actors proposed a transition period of up to five years on Thursday after four days of national consultations in the capital, Bamako.
Mali’s military ruler President Assimi Goita, under pressure from France and Mali’s regional neighbors, had earlier promised to return the country to civilian rule after presidential and parliamentary elections in February 2022. Then in May last year, Goita forced out the interim civilian leadership, disrupting the election timetable.
The West African regional bloc last month threatened Mali with economic sanctions if a timetable for February 27 elections was not met.
Presidential elections will be held in January 2026 and parliamentary polls from May to November 2025, according to a copy of the proposed timetable.
The Ecowas mediator for Mali, Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan, will travel to Bamako on January 5, Ecowas said in a statement on Sunday, acknowledging Mali’s proposal. An Ecowas summit in Mali is scheduled for January 9 in Accra.
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