ECOWAS to host summit on the political crisis in Mali

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will host a summit in Accra today on the ongoing democratic crisis

Photo: Francis Kokoroko/Reuters

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will host a summit in Accra today on the ongoing democratic crisis in Mali.

Colonel Assimi Goita has effectively ruled Mali since August 2020, carrying out two coups before eventually being sworn in as the country’s interim president in May 2021. The military-dominated transition government initially pledged to hold elections by the end of February 2022 but recently proposed an extension of the transition period by between six months to five years, outraging opposition parties.

ECOWAS has repeatedly pressured Mali by suspending its membership in the organization in May following the second coup, placing it under sanctions in September and threatening to impose further sanctions should Goita’s military government attempt to postpone presidential and legislative elections beyond February.

At the summit, expect ECOWAS to uphold its pledge to impose increased sanctions on Mali’s military government. ECOWAS has repeatedly sought to hold Goita’s government accountable, but as an economic union the organization has few other punishment avenues to pursue. Expect the sanctions to target key government and military officials, as opposed to Mali as a whole, to avoid penalizing a frustrated public for the acts of leaders willfully ignoring their democratic desires.

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