Mali lifts state of emergency ahead of election campaigning

The state of emergency ended at midnight. It had been in place since January, when France launched a military intervention against Islamist militants and Tuareg rebels in the north of the country.

Demonstrations, rallies and concerts had been banned under the decree. Some electoral rallies are expected later Saturday, although official campaigning begins on Sunday.

The European Union has launched its observation mission for the upcoming election, and deployed 20 observers.

"It is crucial that the presidential election goes well, not only to provide legitimacy to the (new) president but also for the stability of the region," said European MP Louis Michel, the mission chief.

"Europe is in the front line of the collateral risks implied by instability in this region," he added.


The EU observers will work alongside 150 observers from the African Union.

28 candidates are running for president, including four former prime ministers and one woman.

The relaxation of the emergency rules come after the Malian army on Friday peacefully entered the last rebel-controlled major town in the country.

Accompanied by French soldiers and United Nations officials, 200 Malian military and gendarmes entered Kidal in the far northeast.

The two Tuareg rebel groups controlling the town had already agreed to remain in barracks and lay down arms for the duration of the election campaign.

The distribution of 6.7-million voters' cards has begun in town halls and schools around the country.

According to Mali's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), at least 1.1-million potential voters are missing from the roll, including 300 000 people aged 18 and 19.

CENI also says that, because they have moved or been displaced by the war, about 800 000 people will not be able to collect their cards as these have been sent to the localities where people registered as far back as 2009.

One political party, Parena, says it will on Monday launch an application in the Constitutional Court for the elections to be postponed. – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Alex Duval Smith
Journalist, West Africa and Sahel. Senior Ochberg Fellow @dartcenter Alex Duval Smith has over 3631 followers on Twitter.

Related stories

We should not ignore Guinea’s constitutional coup

Citizens have for a year protested against the president seeking a third term in office despite a two-term limit. Many have been killed — and 90 more people died in this week’s crackdown

Mali’s constitutional flames could mean smoke in Côte d’Ivoire

The fire of constitutional crisis burns in Mali, but observers shouldn’t ignore the smoke in Cote d’Ivoire.

The diplomats without an embassy

For breakaway territories, quasi-states and would-be secessionists, diplomacy is hard – but not impossible

What is happening in Mali is a coup. We must call it that

Zimbabwe called its coup a military-assisted transition to sidestep sanctions. Mali is doing the same. But failing to call power grabs by their name makes it harder to defend democracy

When the President met the Imam – with Mali’s future hanging in the balance

President Keita faces no shortage of challenges to his authority. Can he hold on to power?

SOS: Covid-19 leaves stranded Africans distressed and abandoned

Many African governments have paid little more than lip service to their citizens stranded all over the world
Advertising

Subscribers only

FNB dragged into bribery claims

Allegations of bribery against the bank’s chief executive, Jacques Celliers, thrown up in a separate court case

Dozens of birds and bats perish in extreme heat in...

In a single day, temperatures in northern KwaZulu-Natal climbed to a lethal 45°C, causing a mass die-off of birds and bats

More top stories

North West premier goes off the rails

Supra Mahumapelo ally Job Mokgoro’s defiance of party orders exposes further rifts in the ANC

Construction sites are a ‘death trap’

Four children died at Pretoria sites in just two weeks, but companies deny they’re to blame

Why the Big Fish escape the justice net

The small fish get caught. Jails are used to control the poor and disorderly and deflect attention from the crimes of the rich and powerful.

Koko claims bias before Zondo commission

In a lawyer’s letter, the former Eskom chief executive says the commission is not being fair to him
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…