The situation in Mali is very unstable after
the Tuareg and Islamist uprisings that contributed to a
military coup in 2012 and that foreign forces came to
the country to assist the army. Since 2013, Ibrahim
Boubacar Ke´ta is president and his party RPM is in
office. Despite a peace agreement from 2015, the
fighting has spread, while ethnic violence has blossomed
in central Mali.
The presidential election in the summer of 2013 was
conducted despite warnings that conditions were too
uncertain. However, the election went quietly. The main
candidates, both of whom would return five years later,
were already political veterans: Ibrahim Boubacar Ke´ta
and Souma´la CissÚ (see Modern History). Ke´ta won by
almost 78 percent of the votes in the second round.
Country facts and history of Mali, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
Just a few weeks after Ke´ta's accession, the
separatist Tuareg groups in the National Movement for
the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the High Council of
Azawad's Unity (HCUA) withdrew from the ceasefire they
signed in June (see Modern History).
Elections to the National Assembly could still be
carried out in late autumn 2013. The result was a stable
parliamentary majority for President Ke´ta.
Occasional fighting continued between government
forces and UN troops on the one hand, and various rebel
groups on the other. Pure assaults were also carried
out, sometimes by suicide bombers. The Islamist groups
did not participate in any talks. The unrest was
interrupted with ceasefire and peace talks between the
government and mainly Tuareg rebel groups, under the
supervision of Algeria and the UN action Minusma.
The MNLA and several other Tuareg groups gathered in
2014 in an umbrella organization, Azawad's Unified
Peace treaty with the Tuaregs
Following lengthy negotiations, a peace agreement was
signed in June 2015 between the government, regime-based
militia groups and the CMA. Under the agreement,
Northern Mali would be given greater autonomy. There
were no significant differences against previous peace
agreements (1992 and 2006).
At the same time, from the beginning of 2015,
security in the country deteriorated as armed Islamist
groups began to act in central and southern Mali as
well. It was a new development; Previously, the fighting
had been limited to the northern part of the country.
Three attacks attracted special attention during the
year. In March, an attack was made against a nightclub
in Bamako, and in August and November, armed men took
hostages in hotels, one in SÚvarÚ and one in Bamako.
Over 30 civilians were killed in the attacks. The
majority of victims were foreigners, some of whom were
UN employees. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist group al-Murabitoun
took on all three killings.
In January 2017, 77 people were killed when al-Murabitoun
carried out a suicide attack against a military base in
the city of Gao in central Mali. In March, a number of
Islamist groups, including al-Murabitoun and Ansar
al-Din, joined forces to form the Support Group for
Islam and Muslims (JNIM), which immediately swore
allegiance to Aqim (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb).
Keita is re-elected
A planned referendum on a new constitution in the
summer of 2017 had to be postponed due to political
opposition and continued unrest, but the presidential
election a year later could be carried out despite the
precarious situation. President Ke´ta was re-elected in
a second round of elections in August. The victory was
partly due to the fact that the challenger CissÚ failed
to gather the opposition.
CissÚ initially refused to accept the result because
of alleged electoral fraud, violence and low
participation, but both the Constitutional Court and the
EU and AU election observers ruled that the election was
conducted in an acceptable manner.
Ethnic violence in central Mali
The violence in Mali continues and the UN's efforts
in the country require more lives than any other ongoing
peacekeeping operation. Alongside the Tuareg and
Islamist rebellions, hundreds of people have been killed
since 2018 in attacks between various peoples, mainly
Fulani and Dogon, in central Mali. In March 2019, for
example, at least 160 fulani were killed by attacking
dogs in a village in the Mopti region. In June of that
year, about 100 dogas were killed by around 50 fulani
who attacked from motorcycles. The conflicts are
basically about competition for land and water
resources. They are exacerbated by the fact that the
ethnic militias that have arisen are in contact with
Islamist groups or government loyal militias.
A popular dissatisfaction has been built up with the
government's inability to deal with the ethnic conflicts
in central Mali. Large demonstrations in Bamako in April
2019 led to Prime Minister Soumeylou BoubŔye Ma´ga and
his government being convicted in a statement of no
confidence in Parliament. New Prime Minister became
Finance Minister Boubou CissÚ. He was commissioned to
form a unity government whose main task was to put an
end to the violence.
Prime Minister Boubou CissÚ presented a new broad
government in May 2019, which included parts of the
opposition, some rebel groups and parliament's largest
parties. The URD, however, stood outside the unity
government. Boubou CissÚ chose to retain the post of
finance minister himself.
In early 2020, President Ke´ta made a political
reversal when he declared his readiness to start talks
with Islamist groups. However, no concrete results have
come out of this.
Parliamentary elections with obstacles
In the spring of 2020, a much-delayed election to
Parliament was held. This happened despite the fact that
URD leader Souma´la CissÚ had been reported missing and
kidnapped by suspected jihadists during his election
campaign in central Mali. On the same day that the first
round of elections was conducted, in March, Mali
suffered his first confirmed death in covid-19, the
disease caused by the new corona virus whose spread led
to a pandemic.
The turnout was very low, as few people dared to go
to the polling stations. A number of reports were
submitted to the electoral authority on kidnapped
village leaders and election workers as well as looted
The second round of elections in April was also
fraught with problems. Armed men drove the electorate
away from one polling station, and at another venue the
polling was canceled following threats from jihadists.
Equipment was destroyed in some polling stations in the
north and from many directions came accusations of
Governing RPM became the largest party, followed by
the support party Alliance for Democracy in Mali (AdÚma).
URD came in third place.
On June 5 and June 19, 2020, tens of thousands of
people gathered on the streets of Bamako in protest of
President Ke´ta's and his government's inability to end
domestic violence. Behind the protests lay a newly
formed opposition alliance of religious leaders,
politicians and representatives of civil society. The
alliance called itself "June 5" (actually the Fifth June
Movement - Patriotic Force Collection) after the date
the first demonstration was held. The movement was led
by the charismatic imam Mahmoud Dicko and turned to both
jihadist violence and that between different ethnic
groups. Widespread dissatisfaction with failed political
reforms, a poor economy, widespread corruption and a
lack of community service were also behind the
demonstrations. Keita's proposal to launch a "national
dialogue" was rejected by June 5,
Follow the ongoing development of the Calendar.
READING TIPS - read more about Mali
in UI's web magazine The Foreign Magazine:
Despite the UN and all efforts: The blood
flows than in the Sahel (2020-06-25)
FACTS - POLITICS
Republic of Mali / Republic of Mali
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (2013–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Boubou CissÚ (2019–)
Most important parties with mandates in the
Collection for Mali (RPM) 53, Alliance for Democracy
in Mali (AdÚma) 22, URD 19, Movement for Mali 11,
Alliance for Solidarity in Mali 9, Democratic Alliance
for Peace-Mali 8, Collection for Mali's Development 6,
Other Parties and Independent 19 (2020)
Main parties with mandates in the second most
Collection for Mali (RPM) 61, Adema 20, URD 18,
others and independence 43 (2013)
43% and 35% respectively in the two rounds of the
presidential elections in 2018, 36% and 35% respectively
in the two rounds of the 2020 parliamentary elections
presidential elections 2023, parliamentary elections