Mali military junta defies regional bloc, pushes for five-year transition

Mali military junta defies regional bloc, pushes for five-year transition

Mali’s military-dominated government on Saturday proposed a five-year transition period, defying international pressure to meet a February deadline for a return to civilian rule.

“We’re suggesting a transition period of five years,” Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told public broadcaster Office de Radio et Television du Mali following a meeting with representatives of the Economic Community of West African States in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

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“This in line with the outcome of the National Refoundation Meeting with regards to the duration of the transition. This will then form the base for further talks and dialog with Ecowas,” Diop said.

Political and civil society actors on Thursday proposed a transition period of up to five years following four days of national consultations in the capital, Bamako.

Mali’s military ruler President Assimi Goita, under pressure from France and Mali’s regional neighbors, had earlier promised to return the country to civilian rule after presidential and parliamentary elections in February 2022. Then in May last year, Goita forced out the interim civilian leadership, disrupting the election timetable.

The West African regional bloc last month threatened Mali with economic sanctions if a timetable for Feb. 27 elections wasn’t met.

Presidential elections will be held in January 2026 and parliamentary polls between May and November 2025, according to a copy of the proposed timetable.

The Ecowas mediator for Mali, Nigeria’s ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, will travel to Bamako on Jan. 5, Ecowas said in a statement Sunday, acknowledging Mali’s proposal.

An Ecowas summit regarding Mali is scheduled for January 9 in Accra.

Read more: West African bloc imposes sanctions on Mali leaders over stalled elections