France agrees with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the need to organize presidential elections in the Western African nation of Mali in 2022, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday.
“Like ECOWAS, France believes that organizing presidential elections in Mali on February 27, 2022 is an absolute priority, under the strict conditions set out by the Heads of State and Government in the communique of May 30. It supports the implementation by ECOWAS of a monitoring mechanism for the transition period,” Le Drian’s statement read.
Paris took note of the ECOWAS member states’ decision to suspend Mali’s membership in the alliance, which was announced on Sunday, the minister said.
Le Drian added that France condemned the recent coup in the country, which resulted in the forced resignation of Interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane. Both officials were arrested by the military and taken to the Kati arms base near the capital of Bamako.
Newly-appointed Interim President Col. Assimi Goita said he had dismissed Ndaw and Ouane for violating the Transitional Charter. A military council, headed by Goita, assumed power in the country.
In August 2020, a group of Malian soldiers started a mutiny at the Kati base. Insurgents kidnapped several ministers and high-ranking military officials, including former President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, who later dissolved the government and parliament.
On September 12, the military approved the basic law and strategy for transition after consultations with political and civil figures. The parties agreed that the transition period would last eighteen months, with Bah Ndaw, a former defense minister, as interim president.