The golpe in Mali and the uncertain political transition

Protesters in Mali Protesters in Mali © Keita Amadou/Reuters

This article is a brief presentation of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s report on the Malian golpe

Between 17 and 18 August 2020, a coup d'état led by military officers and supported by the local population resulted in the overthrow of Keita’s regime, Malian president in office since 2013. 

Since 2014 his figure gradually weakened, due to a series of factors and events: allegations of internal government corruption; suspension of aid from the International Monetary Fund; violent clashes between armed groups and the Malian army after the presidential visit of Prime Minister Kidal; lack of progress in implementing the peace agreement signed in Anefis between Tuareg rebel groups and leaders of local communities in June 2015. However, succeeding in running for subsequent elections, which should have been held in 2018, but took place in April 2020, Keita obtained his second term and - therefore - was elected President of Mali for the second time. Electoral results showed that his Party had won 51 out of 147 seats and a close ally of him had been elected as the new Head of the National Assembly. Civil and religious organizations immediately opposed the new government; every Friday in May the protester gathered in Independence Square in Bamako and then formed a coalition, the “5 June Movement - Rally of Patriotic Forces” (M5-RFP), managing to mobilize the population and persuading them to join their demands: Keita’s resignation, new elections and dissolution of the Constitutional Court. Keita satisfied the latter, but refused to resign, confident that the Malian elites and the military class would support him. 

The protests culminated on 10 July, when the harsh crackdown on protesters left 14 people dead and more than 300 injured in the capital. One month later, on August 18, the army marched on it and caused the definitive fall of the regime. After this golpe, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) negotiated directly with the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) on transition’s modalities; however, the prevalence of own interests slowed the process.

Thus, Mali is living in uncertainty about its political future. The only certainty is that in order for a transition to take place in a democratic sense and without ambiguous dynamics, some problems must be resolved: the issue of succession, which requires a valid political leader; the nature of the post-transition regime; inclusion of the political, economic, religious, and social diversity of the Malian people in the governmental logics. Above all, it is essential for the ruling class to regain the trust of the people, now disillusioned.


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Author: Antonella Palmiotti

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