Mali: Military Government Halts Political Party Operations Indefinitely

The military government of Mali has decreed a halt to all political party operations, as declared by government spokesperson Abdoulaye Maiga on state television Wednesday night. Citing the preservation of public order, the decree indefinitely pauses the activities of political parties and politically oriented associations.

Since a coup in August 2020, Mali has been governed by the military, marking the start of a series of eight coups across West and Central Africa over four years, affecting Mali and its neighbors, Burkina Faso and Niger alike.

After taking control through another coup in 2021, Mali’s junta pledged to transition back to civilian governance by March 26, 2024, anticipating elections set for February of the same year. Nevertheless, the military leadership announced in September of the previous year its decision to delay the February elections indefinitely due to technical issues, inciting backlash from political factions.

This frustration was compounded when the junta missed the transition deadline last month, failing to conduct elections. In response, several of Mali’s leading political parties and civic organizations demanded on March 31 a clear election timetable.

In a collective statement endorsed by over 20 groups, including a significant opposition coalition and the party of the ousted former president, they committed to utilizing every lawful and legitimate method to reestablish constitutional governance in Mali. This incident marks the second time Mali’s military rulers have not fulfilled their promise to hold elections, previously set for February 2022.