The constitutional referendum in Mali, initially scheduled for March 19, has been postponed to a later date, announced Mali's Senior Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, and Government Spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga on the national television (ORTM) Friday.
This deferment is justified by the difficulties related to the operationalization of the new regions and the delay in the issuance of the secure biometric card, which is also the voter card under the new electoral law, Maiga explained, without specifying whether or not this postponement will affect the entire electoral agenda.
Apart from the constitutional referendum, the electoral timetable provides for the holding of combined elections for local authorities on June 25, 2023, legislative elections on Oct. 29 and Nov. 19, and the presidential elections on Feb. 4 and 18, 2024.
When asked by Xinhua, several observers said the postponement comes as no surprise, especially since 8 million potential Malian voters will not be able to acquire the new digital identity cards within the time limit set by law, which is no later than 48 hours before the election day.
After the Aug. 18, 2020 coup, a political transition has been underway in Mali since Sept. 15, 2020. Previously set to last 18 months, it was extended to February 2024, following a decree by President Assimi Goita, which set the duration of the transition at 24 months starting March 26, 2022.