Mali – Date set for constitutional reform referendum

In Mali it has been decided that the proposed constitutional reforms that would, inter alia, change the system from a premier-presidential to a president-parliamentary form of semi-presidentialism will be held at the same time as the first round of the presidential election next year. This means that it will be held on 29 April 2012.

This is an interesting decision. The reform is associated with the incumbent president, Amadou Toumani Touré, who has been a paragon of democracy since 1992 and who has been president since 2002. However, the reforms are controversial and ATT (as he is called) is term-limited and will not be contesting next year’s election. So, will ATT’s popularity ensure that the reform is passed, or will the fact that the election is open mean that people will judge the constitutional reforms on their merits?

There is opposition to reform, but they were passed by a large majority in the legislature. The various candidates for next year’s election have not yet been confirmed. Their attitude to the reform will certainly help to sway the vote.

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