US ‘deeply concerned’ by Mali junta’s decree halting political party activities

By Thomson Reuters Apr 11, 2024 | 2:52 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is deeply concerned by a decree issued by Mali’s junta halting political party activities, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday, calling on the military leaders to hold free and fair elections.


The ruling party has already sparked concerns from Washington and others by failing to organize polls within a promised 24-month transition back to democracy.

Mali has been under military rule since August 2020, the first of eight coups in West and Central Africa over four years, including in its neighbors Burkina Faso and Niger.

The decree suspends until further notice all activities by political parties and “associations of a political nature” on the grounds of maintaining public order, according to a statement read on state television on Wednesday evening by government spokesperson Abdoulaye Maiga.


“We are deeply concerned about the Malian transition government’s decree suspending all political activities until further notice,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at a regular news briefing.

“We call on Mali’s transition government to honor its commitments to its citizens and hold free and fair elections.”


Mali’s current junta seized power in a second coup in 2021 and later promised to restore civilian rule by March 26, 2024, following elections in February of this year.

However, the junta said in September last year that it would indefinitely postpone February elections for technical reasons, sparking outrage among political groups.

Many reacted again after last month’s transition deadline passed without a vote, with some of Mali’s main political parties and civil society groups on March 31 calling for a time frame for elections.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)