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Malians in the Ivory Coast mobilize to vote in new referendum

Malian residents in Ivory Coast pose a campaign banner for the June 18 referendum in Mali, June 11, 2023   -  
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SIA KAMBOU/AFP or licensors

Ivory Coast

Malians in the Ivory Coast are mobilizing to vote in favor of adopting a new constitution.

Authorities in Mali announced on Friday that the much-delayed referendum would now be held on June 18th.

"My position is very clear. I'm going to vote, and I'm going to say yes. And I'm voting Yes. I'm from the north. I'm from Gao. In particular, I'm 25 km from Gao. All my relatives who are there are dead. Their cattle were stolen, they were killed. They went into their houses and killed them. But when the military came, I think the situation was a bit better ..... So in my opinion, I'm with the military", said Illiassou Mohamed Touré, a native of Gao.

At least 200,000 to 300,000 Malians will be voting from the Ivory Coast. The Malian diaspora in the Ivory Coast represents 3 million people and is the largest in the country.

"Amadou Toumani Touré also came to power in a coup d'état in 1991, and the Constitution of 1992 was proposed and adopted by a president who came out of a coup d'état. So to say that Assimi is not legitimate to propose a constitution is bad faith, I would say, and does not reflect the reality of Mali", said Aboubacrine Traoré, Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Malian Diaspora in the Ivory Coast. 

The new constitution is the first major step in plans the government has invoked in order to return the power to civilians, following the ouster of former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020.

Elections are due in February 2024 to restore a civilian government in Bamako.

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