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Mali votes on Sunday on a new constitution

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Some 8.4 million Malians are invited to vote to decide Sunday in a referendum on a new constitution. This is the first time they have voted on the future of their country in crisis since the army came in three years ago.

Among the changes proposed by the military council compared to the 1992 constitution, the electorate will decide whether or not to accept the strengthening of the powers of the president at the head of this country in the face of the expansion of jihadism and a multidimensional crisis: security and politics, economic and humanitarian.

sequel after announcement

This acceptance is one of the bets of counseling. Critics of the project describe it as specifically designed to keep the military in power after the presidential elections scheduled for February 2024, despite their initial commitment to hand over the place to civilians after the elections. Results are expected within 72 hours.

“Jihadist groups are advancing with our withdrawal from Mali”

It seems that the victory of “Yes” has been achieved. But the extent will be scrutinized, as will participation, although traditionally low, and the conditions for conducting the ballot.

In an environment that is difficult to resolve due to the ambiguity of the system and the restrictions imposed on expression, voting can give indications, which must be taken with caution, about the support of the population for the junta and its leader, who is known for the popularity of Colonel Asimi Guta, as well as the internal situation.

The soldiers who seized power by force in 2020 and are exercising it without participation claim to be pushing back the jihadists on the ground. The vote takes place less than 48 hours after the resounding authorization given by Bamako to the United Nations Mission after ten years of existence. The authorities believe that the mission failed and that Mali can take over its security through it “own means”.

sequel after announcement

constant insecurity

But continued insecurity is expected to lead to large swathes of voting being banned. Wherever that happens, offices are always under attack. In the north, in areas they control, including the heartland of Kidal, former rebels who signed a fragile peace deal must block a vote on a draft they say they cannot find the agreement they signed in 2015.

“Mali, the Losing War Against Terror,” Anatomy of a Carnage

It is one of the components of the opposition to the project that, despite its heterogeneity, has managed to make itself heard. The protest culminated on Friday with a meeting of those who refuse to preserve the principle of secularism. One of their leaders, the influential imam Mahmoud Dicko, the tutelary figure of the movement that led to the overthrow of the elected president in 2020, delivered violent speeches against the constitutional project and against the military council. denounced against a “Secularism in whose name the Qur’an was trampled” And against the military council that he has “They confiscated the people’s revolution” for the year 2020.

The authorities have invested a lot in favor of this reform, which should compensate for the shortcomings of the 1992 constitution, which was immediately identified as a factor in the bankruptcy of the state in the face of many challenges: the spread of jihadists, poverty, the destruction of infrastructures or the destruction of the school.

The proposed constitution would give primacy to the armed forces. It highlights “sovereignty”the motto of the Military Council since its advent and then secession from the former French dominant power, as well as the fight against corruption associated with the old regime.

sequel after announcement

Leaving Mali, however, presented an enormous logistical challenge to France

It distinguishes itself above all by strengthening the powers of the president. It provides for an amnesty for the perpetrators of the coup before its issuance, and fuels constant speculation about the possible candidacy of Colonel Guetta for the presidency.

In his last speech on Friday, Colonel Guetta called on his countrymen to vote “Widely” For the project he submitted as guarantor to “strong country”from “democratic rule” and one “confidence restored” millions in power.

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