Mali to hold Presidential election on July 28
Bamako: Mali’s Presidential election will be held on July 28, according to a draft law adopted by the cabinet as the nation struggles to move on from war and an 18-month political crisis.
Acting president Dioncounda Traore has said that neither he nor his ministers will stand in the polls, which will go to a second round on August 11 if required.
The new government will have to lead Mali out of a crisis that has crippled the country since a Tuareg rebellion for independence of the north in January 2012.
France meanwhile has begun withdrawing its 4,500 troops deployed in Mali and is handing over the reins to a 6,300-strong force, the International Mission for Support to Mali (MISMA).
Paris has said about 1,000 soldiers will remain in Mali beyond this year to back up a UN force of 12,600 peacekeepers that is to replace MISMA gradually from July and will be responsible for stabilising the north.
Meanwhile the EU is training Mali’s rag-tag armed forces to bring them up to standard on both their military role and responsibilities to civil society.
The international community hopes the July elections will produce an effective government but Mali’s national electoral commission has voiced concerns about the tight timeframe.
Deeply divided and poverty-stricken Mali is badly in need of help to repair the damage caused by the war and to offer some hope of bringing together its disparate political groups.