Report on Mali’s presidential election campaign

Re-posted from the Sahel blog (with thanks to WARA): Leo Villalón reflects on this month’s elections in Mali (“written on 20 July during a visit to Bamako in the midst of the presidential electoral campaign”):

In the soul-searching mood that characterizes many discussions with Malian intellectuals about the country’s current state, one keen observer told me: “These elections are only a bandage on an open wound. They cannot themselves heal the problems in Mali, but they may at least allow some protection from further infections while the wound heals.” But the wound is deep, and it may take a long time and much more substantial remedies before it can really heal.

Following the March 2012 coup, two occupati0ns in the northern half of the county (“first by Tuareg separatists from the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) and then by the assorted jihadist groups who displaced them”), and a French military intervention in January 2013, the first round of the national presidential elections will be held on July 28, with a runoff scheduled for August 11, if necessary.

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