Does Mali risk another coup?

Does Mali risk another coup?

The post-coup discord in Mali is threatening government stability and analysts consider likely that the country will have another coup before their quarter-century of consequences ends. 

Malian Army, led by a group of five colonels, forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to step down in a military coup on 18 August. Keïta removal followed weeks of mass street protests in the country. 

The protests were led by a new opposition coalition force which included members of civil society organizations, religious groups, and opposition political parties, known as the 5 June Movement-Rally of Patriotic Forces (Mouvement du 5 juin-Rassemblement des forces patriotiques: M5-RFP).

The M5-RFP was headed by Imam Mahmoud Dicko. The day after the coup, Dicko announced his withdrawal from politics. However, it is highly likely that he will continue to influence the country’s political roadmap.

The coup was condemned by the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and key donors from France and the United States. The US and European Union (EU) also decided to suspend their military assistance to Mali and ECOWAS imposed new economic sanctions and border closures to isolate the country from the West African sub-region.

It is possible for some countries to see a degree of democracy take root after an autocratic regime was taken down by a coup, including Nigeria in 2010 and even Mali itself in 1991. But it is also true that there are very few “good coups” happening in the world. 

While overthrowing a corrupt leader is a relatively easy fix for the short-term, history has shown the price is almost always political and economic instability – and, usually, another military coup.

Countries risk becoming trapped in cycles of coups and post-coup crises. It is enough to think that even just a coup attempt can increase a country’s coup risk for up to 25 years, as CoupCast’s data analysis shows.

Once entered into this cycle, coup risk can be diminished only by a long-lasting period of political stability. 

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