Amidst a division of opinion.. A referendum in Mali to change the constitution


Mali voters cast their ballots on Sunday in a referendum on changing the constitution that the ruling military council and regional powers said would pave the way for elections and a return to civilian rule.

The military council – which seized power in two coups in 2020 and 2021 – had promised to hold the referendum as part of the process of transition to democracy under pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

But some of the changes in the constitution drafted by the committee charged with preparing it have divided opinion, as supporters say it will strengthen fragile political institutions, while opponents see it as giving the president more powers.

As for the regional and international bodies, they see the referendum itself as an important test of the military council’s willingness to adhere to the transitional path and conduct a democratic process, especially at a time when the Islamists are intensifying their attacks.

“With this project, we are betting on the future of our state, the restoration of its authority, and the restoration of trust between institutions and citizens,” interim President Asimi Guetta said in a televised speech on Friday.

“It is time for us to reaffirm our commitment to the new Mali,” Guetta added.

Preliminary results of the referendum are expected to appear within 72 hours of the vote. Presidential elections are scheduled for February 2024.


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Amidst a division of opinion.. A referendum in Mali to change the constitution

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