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Mali - 2013 General Election

Mali began the long road toward resolution of its political crisis in April 2012, when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediated a transfer of power to an interim government, which was charged with organizing elections within a years time.

The Malian government approved a Roadmap for Political Transition, after an extensive process of broad-based consultations. The two mandates spelled out in the Roadmap were, a) the organization of presidential and legislative elections during 2013, and b) the recapture of northern occupied territories and engagement in a negotiation process with armed groups not associated with AQIM.

French and African forces intervened in Mali in response to a new extremist offensive that threatened southern Mali. Within a few weeks, the intervention forces had retaken the major northern cities, substantially reversing the 2012 extremist takeover of the north. In June 2013, coalition forces in Mali were reorganized under the auspices of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The 2013 elections were the first to be held after the March 2012 coup. A military group called the National Committee for the Return of Democracy and the Restoration of the State (CNRDRE), led by Captain Amadou Sanogo, staged the coup, accusing the government of failing to quell a Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country. The CNRDRE suspended the 1992 Constitution and dissolved the institutions of the Republic.

Following international pressure, the CNRDRE reinstated the Constitution in April and announced plans to hold elections. National Assembly Speaker Traor became Acting President, in the place of the ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure. The National Assembly subsequently adopted a bill extending its term, which would normally have expired in August 2012, until the end of the transitional period which was expected to finish in April 2013.

However, the seizure of the northern part of the country by radical Islamist groups - including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement of Unity and Jihad in Western Africa - further delayed parliamentary elections. A UN-backed French-Malian military operation in January 2013 pushed the groups out of the country, which paved the way for presidential elections to be held in July and August 2013.

With the supervision of the international community, Mali democratically elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2013 followed by legislative elections in December 2013. USAID supported Malis 2013 presidential and legislative elections, which were viewed by both Malians and the international community as transparent, credible and participatory. In 2013 President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won the presidential election, deemed free and fair by international observers.

President Ibrahim Bubacar Keita's Rally for Mali (RPM) became the largest parliamentary force, taking 66 seats in the 147-member National Assembly. Overall, parties supporting the president won a total of 115 seats. They include the Alliance for Democracy in Mali (ADEMA) of former Speaker and interim President Dioncounda Traor, which took 16 seats. The Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD), led by Mr. Soumaila Ciss - Mr. Keita's rival in the 2013 presidential elections - became the second largest force, taking 17 seats.

The inauguration of President Keita and the subsequent establishment of a new National Assembly through free and fair elections ended a 16-month transitional period following the 2012 military coup that ousted the previous democratically elected president, Amadou Toumani Toure. The restoration of a democratic government and the arrest of coup leader Amadou Sanogo restored some civilian control over the military.

Municipal elections held in 2016 completed the electoral process. Originally scheduled for 2014, these local elections were postponed four times before being held in most of Mali in November 2016. Following renewed fighting in May 2014, a roadmap for peace negotiations was signed in July 2014 to pave the way for negotiations between the armed groups and the Malian government. The Government and pro-government militias signed a peace accord on May 15, 2015 with the Coordination of Northern Armed groups following suit on June 20, 2015. Since then, few of the accords tenets have been implemented, leaving the north in an unstable status quo. Violence from terrorist attacks an interethnic violence has also crept into central Mali since 2015.

Despite the peace accord signed in June 2015 between the government, the Platform of northern militias, and the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), violent conflict between CMA and Platform forces continued throughout the northern region. Terrorist groups not party to the peace process--including Ansar al-Dine, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Murabitoun, and the Macina Liberation Front (FLM)--carried out attacks against the military, armed groups, and civilian targets throughout the northern and central regions.

While the Malian government, backed by MINUSMA and French forces, has taken steps to reassert control over most of the major cities, much of the north remain unstable. The terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), long entrenched in northeastern Mali remains dangerous. AQIM has demonstrated a pattern of kidnapping hostages for ransom and launching operations against neighboring Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Niger. AQIM and its local affiliates have been involved in various recent terrorist attacks in Mali, including at a restaurant in Bamako in March 2015, at a hotel frequented by foreigners in Sevar in August 2015 and against the Radisson Hotel Blue of Bamako in November 2015, which lead to 21 deaths. Multiple terrorist groups active in Mali consolidated under a single banner in March 2017.





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