Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced on Tuesday that he would hold talks on establishing a new unity government, after weeks of escalating criticism from the country’s political opposition.

Iran Press/Africa: In a speech in the capital Bamako, Mali's president also suggested the first steps towards reforming the constitutional court and the national parliament.

The series of announcements came as Keita has been struggling to maintain political support in the volatile West African state over a jihadist revolt that first broke out in the north in 2012.

According to Africa News, the violence has since spread to the center of the country, inflaming ethnic tensions, as well as to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. Thousands of soldiers and civilians have died in the conflict, while hundreds of thousands more have had to flee their homes.

But Mali’s economic stagnation, faltering public services, and a widespread perception of corrupt governance have also fed opposition to Keita.

On June 5, tens of thousands of people rallied in the Bamako demanding the president’s resignation over his perceived mismanagement of the poor Sahel country. That protest was organized by a coalition of political opposition groups, which has since rebranded itself the “June 5” movement.

The rally also followed sporadic demonstrations last month over the outcome of recent parliamentary elections, which Keita’s party won, as well as over coronavirus restrictions. On Tuesday 16 June, Keita said he would “begin consultations for the formation of a government of national unity,” in an apparent overture to Mali’s political opposition.

Details about proposed reforms to the constitutional court and national parliament are sketchy. However, the constitutional court caused controversy in Mali in April when it overturned several results for parliamentary seats in the recent elections.

Despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops in Mali, violence has continued apace, raising questions about the government’s handling of the crisis.

The attack is the deadliest since a November 2019 attack when 53 soldiers were killed during an assault on an army post in the north of the country.

UN forces have been involved in Mali, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the French military since mid-2013, but have not performed well in stabilizing the country, and terrorist threats remain in Mali.

The northern and central Malian regions have witnessed bloody violence in recent months.

Mali has been entangled by coups and insecurity since 2012, followed by the rise of terrorist


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