Mali: Opposition Outcry In Plan To Keep Military In Power

(MENAFN- IANS) Bamako, May 13 (IANS/DPA) A plan to extend military rule in Mali by several more years has been met with harsh criticism by political parties and civic groups in the West African country.

Participants in Mali's national dialogue recommended at the weekend that the junta continue to rule for another three years until the military-led transition to democracy is complete. It also said that junta leader Assimi Goïta should stand in the election to be held once democracy is realised.

The national dialogue had been taking place for more than three months and included members of political and religious groups - but it was boycotted by members of the opposition, among others.

In a joint declaration issued late Sunday, opposition parties and groups said the results of the national dialogue in no way reflected the will of the majority of the people.

They called the dialogue "a trap" to keep the junta in power and said that Malians' true concerns - "water, electricity, youth employment, high cost of living, closure of businesses and construction sites, restriction of public freedoms, poor quality of judicial decisions" - had been ignored.

They called for a return to constitutional order according to a mutually agreed timetable with a "new institutional architecture."

The proposal also included reducing the number of political parties, curbing the political activity of religious leaders, and initiating talks with Islamist terrorist militias.

Goita was among the rebels to overthrow the government in 2020 and then became interim president in another coup in 2021. He then announced a 24-month transition timetable starting in March 2022 to return Mali to civilian rule.

In autumn 2023, the military indefinitely postponed a presidential election that had been due to be held.

In mid-April, the transitional government suspended the work of political parties that had called for democratic elections with immediate effect.

The security situation in Mali and its neighbours has been deteriorating for years. Islamist terrorist groups allied with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorist militia are spreading across West Africa's Sahel region. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict in the region.



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