Mali’s 2020 Coup: How did we get here?

Mali has been facing a serious socio-political crisis that has threatened to tear the country apart since March when the constitutional court overturned 31 provisional parliamentary election results, many in favour of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s (IBKs) party. The overturn exacerbated pre-existing political tension across the country and led citizens to protest.

The main opposition group M5-RFP, the June 5 movement – a Rassemblement des Forces Patriotiques du Mali, a coalition of civil society and other opposition groups have repeatedly called for the resignation of President IBK since the formation in June 2002. They blame Keita for Mali’s chronic corruption, economic instability, and for failing to adequately address the eight-year-long jihadist conflict in the north. A protest led by M5-RFP figurehead Imam Mahmoud Dicko in July, resulted in the death of two people and dozens of injuries as violent clashes broke out between law enforcement officials and protesters, who blocked off streets and attacked the parliament building.

ECOWAS calls for a unity government in Mali

In a bid to solve Mali’s political crisis ECOWAS pressured Keita to agree to a 6-member government that would be tasked with solving the country’s issues. The new government was expected to resolve ongoing tension between the president and M5-RFP. The regional body warned of sanctions to be imposed on those who opposed the resolution. ECOWAS, also called for a partial rerun of the parliamentary election and asked the 31 parliamentary members and the speaker of the national assembly to resign.

However, the regional bloc was unsuccessful in gaining widespread support for this deal, particularly from the opposition group. In fact, the coalition indicated their lack of trust in ECOWAS to resolve the issue and maintained their core demand; that President Keita must step down before they would consider a deal.

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