Malian political groups expressed outrage on Wednesday (Sep. 27) at the junta's decision to postpone the presidential election that was supposed to bring back civilian rule.
The ruling junta on Monday (Sep. 25) announced a delay to a presidential election scheduled for February 2024 in the jihadist-hit West African nation.
New dates for the voting "will be communicated later," a government spokesman said.
The reasons cited for the postponement included issues linked to the adoption this year of a new Constitution and a review of the electoral lists.
The spokesman also cited a dispute with French company Idemia, which the junta says is involved in the census process.
The M5-RFP opposition coalition denounced the "unilateral" decision to delay the two rounds of voting -- initially set for February 4 and 18, 2024 -- saying it is "imperrative requirement" that the junta "respects its commitments".
The Movement of June the 5th - Coalition of patriot forces aka M5-RFP lead in 2020 the protests against then president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Later that year, he was eventually deposed in a coup. The M5-RFP who'd become critics of the ruling junta was then sidelined by the new authorities.
Since Monday (Sep. 25), other parties have spoken out against the postponement of February 2024 elections.
The Democratique League for Change expressed its "disappointment" adding it "disapproved and unequivocally condemned" the junta's "attempt to take the Malian democracy hostage".
The Yelema party said the move the "lack of foresight", as well as the authorities' "incompetence" and their "refusal to honor their commitments".
Opposition party Parena said holding elections is a matter of "political will" and that some of the technical reasons cited by the junta could have been "avoided".
Mali's former Justice minister Mamadou Ismaila Konaté accused the junta on social media of "trying to make up for its fault and inability to settle public affairs" by blaming the postponement mainly on a French company providing civil identity services.
Challenge to regional bloc ECOWAS
ECOWAS has not reacted officially to the latest announcement but has been putting pressure on the junta since 2020 to return civilians to power.
The 15-member organisation, which proclaims a principle of "zero tolerance" for coups d'etat, has been faced with a succession of coups since the first putsch in Bamako, in Mali's neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger, as well as in Guinea.
The Mali junta's announcement is yet another delay to the schedule for handing back power to elected civilians.
The soldiers, who carried out back-to-back coups in 2020 and 2021, had earlier promised legislative elections for February 2022.