Mali postpones February presidential election due to ‘technical issues’

Government spokesman cites technical reasons linked to the adoption of a new constitution in a June 18 referendum.

The Malian military government has announced it will delay a presidential election scheduled for February, which was aimed at returning civilian leaders to power in the conflict-ridden West African nation.

Two rounds of voting – initially set for February 4 and 18 – “will be slightly postponed for technical reasons”, government spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga told reporters on Monday.

Those reasons include issues linked to the adoption this year of a new constitution and a review of the electoral lists, he said.

He also cited a dispute with French company Idemia, which the government said is involved in the census process.

“The new dates for the presidential election will be communicated later,” Maiga said.

Mali’s military leaders committed to hold the election in February following pressure from the Economic Community of West African States. That led to the regional bloc lifting a set of trade and financial sanctions on Mali in July last year.

The sanctions were imposed in January 2022 when the military government was considering remaining in power for up to five years.

On June 18 this year, Malians voted in a referendum, also postponed by several months, that introduced a new constitution, which opponents said grants the head of state sweeping powers. But the government said it would pave the way to elections and a return to civilian rule.