May 19, 2024
Mali Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Constitutional Amendments
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Mali Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Constitutional Amendments

Malian voters overwhelmingly approved changes to the constitution in a referendum, marking a key step in the ruling junta’s declared plans to restore civilian rule.

The military has made the draft constitution a cornerstone for the rebuilding of Mali, which is facing the spread of insecurity and a deep, multi-faceted crisis.

The country’s National Electoral Commission says 97 percent of the referendum votes were cast in favour of the changes.

Voter turnout was put at 39.4 percent in the landlocked Sahel country, which is struggling with an 11-year-old insurgency.

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Opponents of the plan believe the vote was designed to keep the colonels, led by the transitional President, Colonel Assimi Goita, in power beyond the presidential election scheduled for February 2024, despite their initial commitment to hand over to civilians after the elections.

Under the constitutional changes, the president will “determine the policies of the Nation,” a role alloted to the government under the country’s current constitution, which dates to 1992.

Also, the head of state will have the right to hire and fire the prime minister and cabinet members, and the government will be answerable to him and not to parliament as is the case presently.

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