Mali's top court postpones elections to 2019

2018-10-16 08:20
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Mali's constitutional court delayed the country's parliamentary elections until 2019 by extending the mandate of MPs for six months, as requested by the National Assembly on Monday, according to the two institutions.

Citing "force majeure" the court said it "extends the mandate of representatives until the end of the first semester of 2019", according to the order, seen by AFP, which gave no further details.

Elections had initially been slated for October 28, but they were postponed to November 25 last month by the government. It said delays in registering candidates after a strike by judges meant some candidates had been unable to obtain and submit the necessary documentation before the deadline.

A National Assembly official also confirmed the court's decision, saying that the six month delay would allow for reforms under a peace deal with former Tuareg rebels, as well as "ease political tensions".

In August, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, was re-elected president with more than 67 percent of the vote, but the outcome was challenged in the constitutional court by his opponent, former finance minister Soumaila Cisse, who alleged fraud.

Mali has been plagued by violence since 2012, when Tuareg separatists staged an uprising in the north, which was then exploited by jihadists to take over key cities in the region.

The militants were largely driven out in a French-led military operation in 2013.

But despite the 2015 peace agreement, large stretches of Mali remain out of government control.

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