Elections a critical first step in the West African nation’s return to constitutional order.
Voters in Mali go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president, a critical first step in the West African nation’s return to constitutional order. Conflict in the North and a military coup have roiled Mali and the greater region for more than a year and a half. The upcoming election will provide the chance to establish a government with the necessary legitimacy to pursue longer-term political and development priorities.
Though logistical problems have made election planning a challenge, and brought calls that the voting be postponed, the United States strongly supports the decision to hold the vote sooner rather than later. We believe the tasks facing the nation are too important to be delayed.
We commend Malian authorities for overcoming significant hurdles to ensure preparations are in place. Toward this end, we have provided nearly $7 million in electoral programming support focused on voter education, technical assistance and training for polling officials. The U.S. Embassy in Bamako intends to send accredited observers to various polling stations in the capital and surrounding areas during both rounds of elections.
We encourage all Malians to take full advantage of this opportunity to express their will through the ballot box and to remain peacefully engaged in the political process both during and after the voting. National reconciliation, accountability for abuses that took place over the last year and a half, and peace building all hang in the balance. Substantive progress on these issues is essential to laying the foundation for long-term peace, security and stability in Mali and the surrounding region.