National Assembly elections will be held in Mali today

Photo: REUTERS/Luc Gnago Mali will proceed with parliamentary elections for 147 National Assembly lawmakers today, despite reporting its first four

Mali: legislative elections maintained this Sunday despite the ...

Photo: REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Mali will proceed with parliamentary elections for 147 National Assembly lawmakers today, despite reporting its first four COVID-19 cases this week.

The elections have been delayed multiple times since 2018 due to security concerns amid an ongoing jihadist insurgency and rebel revolt in the north and centre of the country that began in 2012. This week, opposition leader Soumaile Cisse of the UDR party was kidnapped, with jihadist rebels being the main suspects.

Incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s Rally for Mali (RPM) party is in the box seat to retain or improve on its 66-seat majority in the Assembly. The main opposition Alliance for Democracy and Cisse’s UDR will provide the biggest challenges to RPM.

Regardless of the outcome, expect the main political parties to support implementing 2015 peace deal initiatives struck between Keita’s government and several armed groups. This includes decentralisation of governance away from the capital of Bamako.

However, violence is certain to continue in the foreseeable future given the myriad armed ethnic and jihadist groups and the diversity of their aims and grievances. Bamako is likely to struggle with security until grievances over land and resources are addressed to the satisfaction of these communities.

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