Adopted on June 17, 2022 by the National Transitional Council (CNT) after a heated and even passionate debate, the new electoral law was promulgated by the Head of State a week later.
The main innovation is the creation of the Independent Election Management Authority (AIGE), whose mission is to organize and manage all referendum and electoral operations. as such, it deals in particular with the preparation, management, updating and conservation of the electoral register; the reception and transmission of candidate files relating to the elections of deputies, national councilors and councilors of local authorities
The law also entrusts the single body with the operations of counting ballot papers; the counting of votes; centralization, the proclamation, the publication of the provisional results of the polls by polling station and the transmission of the minutes. Including the transmission to the Constitutional Court of the minutes of the referendum, presidential and legislative consultations, accompanied by the documents which must be annexed thereto, in relation to the representatives of the State.
However, the organization of the elections is not only the business of the AIGE. Indeed, article 5 of the electoral law specifies that the ministry in charge of territorial administration has the role of supporting the AIGE. As such, it is responsible for the technical and material organization of referendum and electoral operations; the revision of the electoral rolls; creation, location and within the jurisdiction of the polling stations in connection with the AIGE; the management of materials and logistics for referendum and electoral operations and the conservation of materials after the elections.
The Ministry in charge of Territorial Administration also takes care of the implementation of electoral material and documents, in relation to the AIGE, the public financing of political parties, etc. Externally, AIGE’s coordination benefits from the assistance of the embassy and the consulate. How will the duo AIGE and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MATD) operate in the field? Should conflicts of jurisdiction or interests be expected? In this regard, we approached the Director General of Territorial Administration.
MAJOR REFORMS- For Abdoul Salam Diepkilé, it is clear that with the new electoral law, the MATD, the General Election Delegation (DGE) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) which were involved in the organization of the elections, will give way at the AIGE. Unlike the Ministry in charge of Territorial Administration, which will continue to provide technical support to the single body, the DGE and the CENI will completely disappear.
“There are essential questions that will still come back to the ministry in charge of Territorial Administration, in accordance with article 5 of the electoral law. For example, the creation and location of polling stations return to the representatives of the State in the electoral districts. They also support the AIGE in monitoring and supervising all voting operations and the management of electoral material,” explains the Director General of Territorial Administration.
For Abdoul Salam Diepkilé, the Territorial Administration will also continue to carry out the annual revision operations of the electoral lists. In this respect, the branches of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, the prefects and the sub-prefects will continue to legalize the acts in accordance with law n° 64-21/AN/RM of July 15, 1964 determining the modalities legalizations in the Republic of Mali.
When asked whether the electoral constituencies will be determined according to the new administrative division, the Director General of Territorial Administration recalls that in 2012, our country experienced major reforms in the area of territorial administration. There was Law No. 2012-006 on the fundamental principles of the administrative organization of the territory. Then there was Law No. 2012-017 creating administrative districts and Law No. 2012-018 creating circles and districts in the regions of Gao, Timbuktu, Kidal, Ménaka and Taoudéni.
“Law No. 2012-017 specifies in its transitional provisions that the 11 new regions will be operationalized over a period of 5 years. Ten years after the adoption of this law, unfortunately the circles and the districts of the other regions could not be created. Not for lack of will, because the ministry, since 2014, has set up working commissions.
These commissions on territorial reorganization had the objective of being able to proceed with the creation of these administrative districts: circles and districts of the new regions. Unfortunately, the various processes initiated have not been successful. It is in this context that this commission was reactivated, in 2021, by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization. to date, the conclusions of the commission’s work have been tabled with the government”, notes Abdoul Salam Diepkilé.
According to our interlocutor, the Ministry in charge of Territorial Administration and the whole of the government are getting involved, today, so that the elections to end the Transition are held on the basis of the new territorial division.
TRANSPARENCY AND CREDIBILITY- Pr Fousseiny Doumbia is the secretary general of the Malian Association of Constitutional Law and professor of public law and political science at the University of Legal and Political Sciences of Bamako. According to the academic, the desire to set up a single body responsible for managing the elections had raised many hopes among all the actors in the democratic process, given the multiplicity of structures involved in the organization of elections and the very high cost of elections.
However, in the opinion of Professor Doumbia, the single electoral management body has been betrayed both in spirit and in letter by the new electoral law, contrary to the resolutions of the Inclusive National Dialogue, the national consultations of the 10, September 11 and 12, 2020 and the National Refoundation Conference. “The next elections will be jointly organized by the MATD and the AIGE. The powers of the latter are less than those of the ministry.
It is the maintenance of the government organizing the elections and this crystallizes a feeling of suspicion on the transparency and the credibility of the next elections and a potential risk of overlapping of competences in the attributions of the MATD and the AIGE. All this was not the result of the spirit of the independent body in charge of the elections. While the Administration organizes the elections, the AIGE contents itself with counting ballot papers, listing and centralizing votes and to publish the provisional results. At the level of the Coordinations (region, district, circle and municipality) of the AIGE, four out of seven representatives are appointed by the public authorities. The AIGE will be under the supervision of the MATD”, analyzes the constitutionalist.
According to him, the independence and impartiality of the AIGE will be called into question because of the strong politicization of the institution, the supervision of the government and the presence of its representatives within it. “The institution should escape the control of the state and political parties, and include only professionals or specialists in electoral matters”, insists the professor of public law and political science. Indeed, according to him, the political antagonisms, the conflicts of interest, the maneuvers and the political struggles of the members in charge of the AIGE, fueled by the fierce desire to control this institution, could lead to electoral crises.
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