Mali – Update

The situation in Mali, or at least the region controlled by the authorities in Bamoko, is perhaps gradually returning to normal.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the constitution was restored back in April. At that time, the ousted president, Amadou Toumani Touré, stepped down, or, rather, was obliged to do so. However, in conformity with the constitution, the Constitutional Court then ruled that the interim president was Dioncounda Traoré. He was previously the President of the National Assembly and was next in line. In turn, President Dioncounda Traoré appointed Cheick Modibo Diarra as the interim prime minister. A full government was then formed. More than that, the leader of the coup, Amadou Haya Sanogo, is not part of the government. So, by the end of April there was a sense that constitutional order was returning.

That said, the situation is still very fluid. Towards the end of May, demonstrators were able to enter President Dioncounda Traoré’s office and beat him up. He has since gone to Paris for treatment. There is a sense that this action was at least tacitly allowed by the coup leaders. There are also reports that he is effectively in exile there. This would seem to suit the coup leaders. In addition, there are also reports that the prime minister has to do the bidding of the coup leaders, even though they are not formally part of the political process.  So, the extent to which there has been a return to civilian rule can be questioned. What is more, in the north the self-proclaimed state of Azawad is increasingly out of the control of the international community, never mind the security forces in Mali. So, the main motivation for the coup remains as problematic as ever.

Generally, the political system is still not functioning normally. The National Assembly has, so far, not been able to elect a replacement president. There is no date for elections to be held and little debate about when they are likely to occur. The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) is intervening very actively to try to rein in the coup leaders and to restore constitutionality. However, we seem to be in a situation that more resembles a ‘normal’ coup, rather than the benign coup that occurred in Niger in 2010 and that successfully managed a transition of democracy.

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