Africa Mali delays talks that could decide post-coup election date

Mali delays talks that could decide post-coup election date

National reform consultations in Mali that were scheduled for December have been postponed to an unspecified date, organisers said on Monday, likely further delaying a much-anticipated decision on the calendar for post-coup elections.

The interim government, which took power following a military overthrow in August 2020, signalled last month that the December talks would decide the schedule for a return to constitutional rule via the ballot box.

But the head of the high-level panel overseeing discussions said the date had been pushed back because participants wanted to find the broadest possible consensus.

A new schedule will be announced in due course, the panel’s president Zeini Moulaye said in a statement, without giving further details.

West Africa’s main political and economic bloc has already imposed sanctions against the transitional authorities after they told the organisation they would not hold presidential and legislative elections on Feb. 27, 2022 as they originally promised after the coup.

Mali’s transition is seen as a test of West African leaders’ commitment to protecting democracy against a return to the frequent putsches that earned the region its reputation as a “coup belt” in the decades after colonialism ended.