Mali Domestic Issues

By | March 15, 2021

Mali is one of the largest territorial states in Africa. The population, which is characterized by great ethnic diversity, lives largely on agriculture, which is highly dependent on fluctuating rainfall. For a long time Mali was considered a model democratic country until a military coup and the war in northern Mali plunged the country into a serious political crisis.

Mali History & State

Mali History & State

Mali History & State

Independence Day: September 22, 1960

Head of state: Bah N’Daw

Head of government: Moctar Ouane

Political system: Transitional government

Political Transformation (BTI): Rank 65 of 137 (2020)

Corruption Index (CPI): Rank 130 of 180 (2019)

Ibrahim Index of African Governance: Rank 31 of 54 (2019)

Rulers and power groups

The role of the military as a power group that became important again after the coup in March 2012 is dealt with in this country information portal under “The Third Republic”.

According to a2zgov, the numerous political parties are of central importance for political events. There are currently over 170 parties in Mali, of which only 25 are represented in parliament, which does not make forming a government easy. Numerous parties benefit from financial support from the government.

Since the parliamentary elections in 2013 and parliamentary elections in 2020 (see next paragraph), the Parliament of which was RPM (Rassemblement pour le Mali) and allied parties (united in the coalition Le Mali d’Abord) dominated (at the time of Election in 2013: 115 seats out of 147). Since August 2016, several members of parliament and the ADP-Maliba have withdrawn their support for the RPM, which has given rise to suspicions about the formation of a grand coalition.

Party alliances play a major role in Malian politics. In the run-up to the 2018 presidential election, 60 parties and political associations belonging to the opposition formed the Coalition pour l’Alternance et le Changement in April 2018. The aim of the alliance was to prevent the re-election of President Keita.

In the 2020 parliamentary election, President Keita’s RPM emerged as the strongest party (51 out of 147 seats), followed by a wide margin by its allied ADEMA-PASJ (24 seats). The most important opposition party is the URD (Union pour la République et la Démocratie), a party that emerged from ADEMA, has 19 seats in parliament and is led by Soumaila Cissé. In March 2020, a few days before the parliamentary elections, Cissé was kidnapped by strangers during an election campaign tour in northern Mali and was only released in October 2020 in exchange for nearly 200 Islamists and suspects of Islamism.

Party office in Goundam, Timbuktu region

Party office in Goundam, Timbuktu region

Until the military coup in 2012, Mali was considered a model democratic country in West Africa. However, the political landscape was marked by an outspoken democracy by consensus and a weak opposition. In the opinion of critics, the government invested a great deal of energy in creating the greatest possible consensus on issues discussed in society, which in many cases at the expense of realistic solution strategies for the country’s numerous pressing future problems.

A study by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung provides a critical overview of the Malian party landscape and the institutions of the multi-party system before the latest military coup. Among other things, the authors came to the conclusion that the most important parties do not have coherent, sufficiently well thought-out party and election programs. In addition, the documents drawn up by the parties on political, economic and social issues have more of a pamphlet than a program character.

The vast majority of the Malian population supported the democratic system, at least until the recent military coup. Quite a few Malians, however, repeatedly complained about undesirable alleged side effects of democratization, for example decreasing respect for traditional structures and state organs. In addition, the state and its institutions were increasingly viewed as weak and corrupt.

The documentation of a conference organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in the same year offers a good overview of the democratic development up to 2005.

Many Malians evaluate the involvement of individuals in political parties not primarily as an expression of a political attitude, but as an opportunity to improve personal living and economic conditions (financial benefits, acceptance into networks, opportunities for advancement).