The ruling military junta in Mali announced on Friday the postponement of the constitutional referendum to a later date. The information was given by Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, Minister of Territorial Administration and Government Spokesperson, at a press briefing in Bamako.
“The Transitional Government informs national opinion that the date of the referendum scheduled for 19 March 2023, in the chronogram of political, institutional and electoral reforms of the Transition, will be slightly postponed,” said Minister Maiga, without specifying a new deadline.
According to the Malian government, this postponement sine die is justified “by the firm will of the transitional authorities to implement the recommendations of the National Refoundation Conference, notably the full operationalisation of the Independent Electoral Management Authority, through the installation of its branches in the 19 administrative regions of Mali and the District of Bamako, as soon as possible, as well as the popularisation of the draft constitution”.
While reassuring that the military will respect their commitment to the return of civilians to the leadership of Mali in 2024, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said the new date will be set after consultation with the Independent Electoral Management Authority (AIGE) and all stakeholders in the electoral process.
“The decision of the highest authorities to organise the referendum on the basis of a new Constitution has implications for the timetable of the referendum. The implementation of this timetable was guided by the principles of inclusiveness, participation and transparency,” he said.
Moreover, the postponement of the referendum was to be expected, as the authorities have been silent on the subject for some time. Moreover, the text that should be the subject of the referendum was only handed over to the president of the transition on February 27. And the league of imams in this predominantly Muslim country called on Tuesday 7 March for all patriotic Muslims to vote against the draft new constitution in its current form. The reason is that the imams oppose the principle of secularism contained in the document. This means that the text needs to be reviewed.