ECOWAS mediators’ power-sharing proposals still stalled in Mali?

Negotiators tabled ideas for a power-sharing government and new constitutional court but the Malian opposition rejected these outright

Mediators from the West African economic union trying to resolve the political crisis in Mali have laid out fresh proposals following a renewed wave of demonstrations.

The opposition protest movement has called for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta following widespread unrest in the country.

The protesters insist that the president has failed to address Mali’s economic challenges, or bring an end to corruption and jihadist violence.

Mediators from the sub-regional economic bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), therefore proposed a power-sharing government and new constitutional court.


Although opposition groups rejected the proposal outright, ECOWAS leaders hope that a delegation of four regional heads of state visiting Bamako today will be able to pull both President Keïta and his critics to the negotiating table.

Agence France Presse reported on Monday that the presidents of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger and Senegal were all expected in Bamako, the Malian capital.

TVC News also reported on Wednesday that the quartet would be joined by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, an indication of the seriousness with which the Malian crisis is being viewed in the sub-region.

Under the original ECOWAS proposals, half the positions in a new unity government would be occupied by members of the current governing coalition. The other half would go to the opposition and civil society groups.

Breakdown of proposal

Negotiators from all 15 ECOWAS member states engaged for days in talks with both the government and the opposition. The ECOWAS mediators proposed that 30% of government positions should go to the opposition, and another 20% to civil society groups.

In order to resolve a dispute over the country’s most recent parliamentary election, held between 29 March and 19 April this year, the mediators also proposed that new judges be appointed.

The team of ECOWAS mediators in Mali was led by the former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan.

Calls for Keïta to resign

Speaking at a press conference in Bamako, Jonathan said that ECOWAS could not make President Keïta resign.

The statement followed intense pressure from the opposition alliance for the Malian leader to vacate his office. The president had already made an offer similar to that of the mediators but the opposition rejected this, too.

The lack of common ground between the president and the opposition alliance has led to unrest in Mali. An anti-Keïta protest last week which lasted for three days turned chaotic and led to the death of at least 11 people.

E A Alanore / Asaase Radio correspondents

* UPDATE: The report was updated at 4.25am on 23 July to reflect the Nigerian addition to the visiting party of heads of state.
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