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Mali’s junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita received a draft of a new constitution on Tuesday, a key part of the military’s bid to retain power in the crisis-hit country until 2024.
The text of the “preliminary draft constitution” has not been made public and arrived two months after it was originally due, but the commission chair set up to write it said the deadline had been extended.
Fousseyni Samake warned Goita, “Any constitution will be subject to challenges, criticism, and controversy,” the so-called transitional presidency said in a statement.
Malian authorities, dominated by the military which seized power in August 2020, cite the drafting of a new fundamental law as one of the reforms needed for the “refoundation” of the state.
They announced the commission in June after extending military rule until 2024, and have said the constitution will be put to a referendum in March 2023.
“The submission of the draft of the new Constitution is only one step in the process, as soon only the sovereign people will be called to a referendum to decide on the document. Adopting the new Constitution is the legal founding act of Malikura (term etymologically taken to mean a new Mali to the satisfaction of the masses, ed.) that the people will have sovereignly taken.” Assimi Goita, head of Mali’s ruling junta said Tuesday.
The military has pledged under pressure to hold elections in February 2024 and to hand over power in March of the same year. In return, the regime secured an end to the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).