Mali – The next elections at stake for Malian medias

Among the news about the war, Malian media try to tackle with other issues such as the next elections due in July 2013. Newspapers focuse on the abstention rate but also the division of the political landscape.

“How to improve the turnout?” The question asked by the Malia newspaper l’Essor shifts from the current news about war and the announcement of 63 Malian soldiers’ deaths. Why talking about elections when the war is not over yet? In a way, the newspaper tries to move forward and to analyze the next issues for the country. Expected in July, the idea of democratic elections is a first move toward hope and reconstruction. Based on a report published by the German Erbert Friedrich foundation about the low voting rate in Mali. According to experts Mohamed Traoré and Sékou Mamadou Chérif Diaby, the illiteracy rate and the lack of political culture are the main reasons for the abstention rate. But technical matters such as the inaccuracy of the electoral file, the roadmap and  the nature of the voting system present also an issue.

Twitter Screenshot

Twitter Screenshot

Confronted with a lot of political parties (at least 80), Malians will have to face a difficult choice in July. To make sure that most Malians do vote, a number of recommandations have been established. The newspaper Le Républicain sum them up : the creation of an administration which will be in charge of all the electoral structures. The establishement of a new biometric registration system, new electoral lists and a vast campaign of civic education and a formation to citizenship in order to push more people to vote.

From 1992 to 2007, the turnout to national elections has allways been very low. This is the problem, experts want to solve for the 2013 elections. Last year, before the military coup, a National and independent electoral commission called the CENI was created but there were many controversies during the electoral campaign. The electoral file was not so reliable and some opposition parties did not trust the commission.They even went to the Supreme Court because they did not agree on the interpretation of the electoral law.

According to Le Républicain, the reasons of the abstention rate in the past two decades can also come from political defiance and a deeper unease in the malian society. The security issue is also at stake for these elections, since the north is not completly freed of the conflicts between French troops and djihadists. French president François Hollande, in his speech on french TV channel France 2, yesterday, pointed out the necessity to have steady elections. These elections stand for a strong symbol. In front of the international community, they will show that Malians can overcome the next step after the war and start their reconstruction. François Hollande precised that France will not interfere with the choice of a new president for Malians. “The time when France chose African leaders is over “ Jeune Afrique reports.

François Hollande’s speech on France 2

Kassim Traore, a Malian reporter based in Bamako, reported on his Facebook status the decision of the comittee to support the electoral process’ s second reunion on Wednesday 27th.

Screenshot of Facebook profile

Screenshot of Facebook profile

Members discussed about the refugee vote’s issue and also the electoral budget. They agreed on a date, the 7 th of July for the first round and the 21th of July for the second one. But some political parties think that the country need more time to prepare its elections. In March, Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, the Minister in charge of the territorial administration announced that the elections were supposed to be held at the end of July.

His statement awoke the political class which is now fidgeting to prepare the electoral campaign. They will have to convince many disenchanting voters according to France 24 website.

Footage by France 24 about the disenchanting voters

Twitter screeshot

Twitter screeshot

Observers still watch the influence of Captain Sanogo which is very much present according to Gilles Yabi from the International Crisis Group. In February 2013, the American governments also announced that US will provide financial aid to the country only if democratic elections were held.

Since the establishement of a democratic regime in the 90’s, Mali has also adopted multipartism until reaching 120 political parties in 2009. For the Malian newspaper l’Indépendant, a lot of young Malians are currently gathering to apply for the elections. The polictical landscape is still divided but it is moving forward despite the war in the country.

Twitter screenshot

Twitter screenshot

Lilia Blaise

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