Mali’s quest for a return to civilian rule has been delayed further after the military junta ruling announced it has postponed next year’s elections.
The country had set February next year for fresh elections to pick a civilian regime but the polls won’t take place as planned.
The junta cited technical reasons for the plan delay the polls. That would now push back the entire timeline for a return to democratic rule after two coups.
According to earlier plans Mali was to hold the first round of the vote on February 4, 2024, and a second round two weeks later, which was already a two-year delay to a timetable originally agreed by the coup leaders.
But in a statement the junta said the delay was due to several factors including a dispute with a French firm over a civil registry database.
It accused the French-based international tech company IDEMIA, of holding its database “hostage” since March due to unpaid bills.
The firm provided a civil identification system known as RAVEC to the former government,
The junta said the technical challenge form the firm makes it impossible to register newly eligible voters and update the voter registry, and is slowing down the roll out of a new biometric identity card.
The junta said it would migrate its current civil identification data to a new system “exclusively under Malian control.”
It said it would give a new timeline at a later date.