Democracy delayed: Parliamentary elections and insecurity in Mali


This month, Malians will go to the polls to vote in delayed parliamentary elections: voting was originally slated for October 2018, then delayed until November, then delayed until April 2019, before being scheduled for June 2019 (DW, October 16, 2018; GardaWorld). The courts cited “force majeure” (meaning unforeseen circumstances) as the reason for the delays — even though the security situation in the country has been a persistent problem since 2012 and the issues with the implementation of the Algiers peace agreement between the government and northern armed groups are well-documented (AFP, October 16, 2018). In April 2019, Mali’s government was dealt another blow when Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga announced that his government was resigning. Though many have speculated that the resignation was in response to a brutal attack on a Fulani community the month prior, African Arguments concluded that “the massacre and a generally deteriorating security situation was likely only the straw that broke the camel’s back” (African Arguments, April 23, 2019).

The Malian government is now faced with two crises: resolving the conflict in the north and addressing escalating violence in the country’s center. In both regions, the government’s existing efforts to broker peace with non-state armed groups do not address the most relevant sources of violence in recent years.