The proposed new Constitution is a key element of the vast reform project it initiated to ensure a return to civilian rule, following an election that will be held in February 2024. A revised draft of the document was handed to the country’s transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goita. In the new draft of the constitution, the head of state, will "determine the policies of the nation, and not the government.
The most important element, apart from the shift towards a presidential regime, is the insistence of the constitution that Mali will remain a unitary state. "There will be no federation, no regional autonomy. The drafting commission’s chairman is Professor Fousseyni Samaké, . The draft document contained 195 articles. Mali's first constitution after independence, in 1960, had 52 articles; the current basic law has 122.
Constitutional change is one of a string of major institutional revamps launched by the military after it ousted Mali's last elected president in August 2020.
- Proposed changes to Mali’s Constitution would bolster the president’s power and reduce the status of the French language. Proposing laws will be the prerogative of the president and the National Assembly, whereas this was previously the right of the government and MPs.
- The president would also be responsible for appointing and firing the prime minister and government ministers and be empowered to dissolve the National Assembly.
- Proposing laws will be the prerogative of the president and the National Assembly, whereas this was previously the right of the government and MPs.
- A president would be elected for five years and be limited to two terms in office.
- While the new draft also describes carrying out a coup d'etat as an offence for which there is no time limit for prosecution, those involved in the 2020 takeover would be covered by an amnesty.
- The president will no longer have the right to dissolve parliament.
- Mali will remain a secular nation in which religious freedom is guaranteed.
Despite several political parties questioning the need for a new constitution, Goita said the draft had been drawn up without any objection. Mali being one of the world’s poorest and most volatile countries in the world, suffered a string of coups since gaining independence from France in 1960. Mali has suffered three coups since 1991 and five since independence in 1960. It has been battling a security and political crisis since jihadist and separatist insurgencies broke out in the north of the country in 2012.
Mali's proposed new constitution will shift the balance of executive power from the parliament towards the president. The document, which is a key part of the military's bid to retain power until 2024, has not been made public.
The new constitution proposes the establishment of an upper house, or senate and the National Accounts Court. The High Court of Justice and the High Commission for Communities will both be abolished.
Malian authorities, dominated by the military which seized power in August 2020, consider the drafting of a new basic law as one of the reforms needed for the "refoundation" of the state. They announced the commission in June after extending military rule until 2024, and have said the constitution will be put to a referendum in March 2023. The military has pledged to hold elections in February 2024 and to hand over power in March of the same year.