Mali’s main political party signalled the end of the West African country’s rare system of consensus-based politics by declaring that it would field its own candidate in a 2012 presidential election.
The decision by the Alliance for Democracy in Mali (ADEMA) came after President Amadou Toumani Toure confirmed he would stand down after two terms, as the constitution stipulates. Toure has no party affiliation but is supported by a coalition of ADEMA and virtually all other Malian parties.
“We shall have our candidate, and that candidate will, by the will of God, win the elections,” ADEMA party president Dioncouda Traore told national radio.
Mali’s three other main political groupings are now expected to declare rival candidates to whoever ADEMA chooses.
Credited with rescuing Mali from military dictatorship, Toure — widely known as “ATT” — has dominated local politics since seizing power in a 1991 coup, stepping down the following year but coming back as a civilian by winning the 2002 election.
Dubbed “The Soldier of Malian Democracy”, he won the 2007 poll by a landslide against a rival candidate from within the coalition.
Some Malians call their system “democracy without opposition” while others complain that it has stifled genuine policy debate.
The cotton-producing Sahel state of 13 million people has some of the worst development indicators in the world, including average life expectancy of 48 and around 28% of children under five exposed to malnutrition.
Pic: President of Mali