Vote counting starts as Mali military government holds referendum

Vote counting starts as Mali military government holds referendum

Votes counting has started in Mali after residents voted in a referendum on a new constitution that would pave the way for the process of returning the West African country to democratic civilian rule.

Around 8.4 million people are eligible to vote and the results are expected within 72 hours, according to the BBC.

The draft constitution proposes a two-chamber legislature, the National Assembly and the Senate. The country has only had a National Assembly until now.

The draft also strengthens the position of Mali’s President, a move that has sparked heated political controversy.

Some critics argue that the military has no authority to monitor the rewriting of the constitution, which, if passed, will give the president more executive power.

The current constitution, dating from 1992, states that “the government determines and conducts the policy of the nation.” In the new constitution, the government “conducts the policy of the nation determined by the president.”

Mali is currently ruled by the Military government led by Colonel Asimi Goïta.

The Army took power in 2020 and staged a second coup nine months later after the men in uniform were dissatisfied with the civilians who ran the caretaker government it had installed.

Colonel Assimi Goïta, the coup leader, then took over as president, and has subsequently promised to hand over power to an elected government in 2024.

The West African country has been struggling with internal security due to repeated attacks from extremist insurgents.

The Malian Foreign Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, on Friday, demanded for the immediate withdrawal of UN forces in the country.

The top diplomat declared that the peacekeepers had failed in their mandates to protect civilians against attacks from non-state actors terrorizing the country.

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