Mali: Constitutional Crisis Continues


By Jemal Oumar

Time to end Mali’s political deadlock is running out.

The military junta, the interim government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have less than a week to resolve the country’s leadership crisis. By law, the tenure of Interim President Dioncounda Traoré must end on May 22nd.

Amadou Sanogo, who led the military coup that ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure in March, adheres to the constitutional point that limits the interim government to 40 days.

ECOWAS mediators, however, want Traoré to lead the government for another 12 months, in order to allow the country to prepare for elections.

Earlier this week, Sanogo proposed a “national convention” under the chairmanship of Interim Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra and the supervision of Traoré.

“It is about time we solved our problems ourselves and reached an agreement before May 22nd to avoid jumping into the unknown,” Sanogo said on May 14th.

In his proposal, all viable forces, including political parties, civil society organisations, and unions would choose a president to lead the upcoming period until a Mali presidential election could be held.

Sanogo’s plan has failed to gain support from the political elite.

“Politicians believe that the constitution must be respected and that the tenure of the current president must be extended until a presidential election is held and a new president is elected,” Renaissance Party leader Tibile Drame said.

“This is not the first time that the insurrectionists proposed national reconciliation in order to prevent the restoration of constitutional system,” he said, adding that the proposal was “just an attempt to legitimise the coup”.

Malians are also voicing concerns over the stalemate.

“If the two sides don’t reach a final solution to overcome the strangling crisis and start looking for solutions to counter threats of terrorism in northern provinces, this will pose a threat to the future of security and stability in Mali and Sahel in general,” Malian journalist Bab Ahmed said.

Abu Bakr al-Sedik Ag Hami, a professor at Bamako University, stressed the need for supervision from a figure capable of “bringing together all political and unionist entities”.

“I support the national reconciliation initiative that the military have called for provided it’s not under the supervision of the military or current interim president,” he told Magharebia.

“As to the next president, I suggest choosing him from a religious or ethnic minority because they are the only ones capable of creating a balance between the competing, conflicting and contradicting Malian groups,” he added.


The Magharebia web site is sponsored by the United States Africa Command, the military command responsible for supporting and enhancing US efforts to promote stability, co-operation and prosperity in the region.

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