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Mali: Expert weighs in on draft constitution

Dr. Fousseynou Doumbia, Malian constitutionalist.   -  
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Cleared/ AFP


Mali's draft constitution which gives the president sweeping powers has elicited diverse views.

The text which was presented to army ruler Assimi Goita on Monday (Feb. 27) is supposed to replace that of 1992. Cconstitutional expert, Fousseynou Doumbia, says the draft has some progressive provisions.

"This draft Constitution, as it has been characterized, it must be said, first of all by provisions which make it possible to consolidate democracy, the rule of law and even to a certain extent peace."

"Because not everything is bad and not everything is good too. There are some very, very encouraging provisions that should be applauded even though those provisions did exist in the past."

Constitutional change is one of a string of major reforms launched by the military after it ousted Mali's elected government in August 2020.

Political parties have questioned the need for a new constitution, calling it an excuse by the army to delay a return to civilian rule.

"If we do not touch certain red lines that the power of revision cannot touch, it makes no sense. If we do not deal with elements that could allow us to talk about refocusing, it makes no sense," Dr. Doumbia said."

"It is often a question of what the purpose of developing a new Constitution will be if all provisions (which) are proposed are subject to revision. What is expected behind, we do not know."

The draft also seeks to promote local languages to official status in what has been seen as Bamako's desire to further reduce ties to former colonial ruler France.

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