Parliamentary elections resume in Mali following month-long delay

Parliamentary elections resume in Mali following month-long delay

After a month-long delay, Mali’s first round of legislative elections will be held today, concluding the current National Assembly’s five-year

Security forces carry out checks as people wait at a polling station before the polls open for the presidential election in Bamako, Mali

Photo: Reuters/Luc Gnago

After a month-long delay, Mali’s first round of legislative elections will be held today, concluding the current National Assembly’s five-year term.

The vote comes on the heels of August’s presidential election, where the Rally for Mali (RPM) party’s candidate, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, prevailed in his re-election bid with 67% of the vote. However, allegations of fraud made by opposition leader Soumaila Cisse and electoral violence have marred the result.

The RPM’s democratic-socialist coalition currently holds 110 of 147 seats in the unicameral legislature, while the largest opposition party, Mr Cisse’s Union for the Republic and Democracy, holds only 17 seats. Thanks to a fractured opposition, the RPM will likely dominate elections again today, but the party is in a somewhat weaker position now than in 2013, given Mali’s financial and security woes.

In the likely event that the RPM’s coalition holds its majority, President Keita can further consolidate his power, but violent protests could erupt nationwide, as happened in August. The elected government will be tasked with stopping jihadi militant forces in Northern Mali, which have disrupted civil society and hindered investment and economic growth.