NIMD’s partner in Mali, the Centre pour le Dialogue Inter-Partis et la Démocratie (CMDID), has been able to achieve consensus on the establishment of an independent institution to manage the electoral process, and a code of conduct for political parties. With the help of storytellers and singers, the centre has raised awareness on the code of conduct at the local level.
Political consensus on electoral reform
At the start of 2008, CMDID embarked on the effort to initiate a national discussion of the current electoral management system. The objective was to find ways to come to a single, independent institution responsible for managing the entire electoral process. This in order to enhance both popular trust in and efficiency of Malian elections.
During an interparty seminar with almost 60 senior party representatives, several models were presented and discussed. The Board of CMDID installed a commission of six party representatives mandated to draft a political agreement on the need to set up an independent electoral management institution. With the exception of one opposition party, all major parties later publicly signed the statement, which was subsequently published in ten different newspapers.
Mitigating interparty tensions in the run-up to local elections
With local elections coming up in 2009, the political parties decided to review the Code of Conduct that CMDID had elaborated in the run-up to the 2007 general elections. This Code, which was signed by over 50 party presidents, including all major parties, was assessed during a seminar that regrouped party representatives, Members of Parliament, representatives of the various electoral institutions and civil society organisations.
Among the positive elements put forward at the seminar was the adherence of all parties to their commitment to abstain from violence, to use only legitimate channels to contest the election results, and to accept the final results.
Articles that were not or insufficiently respected were the agreement not to focus political debate too much on personalities but on policy issues, the agreement to actively contribute to voter education, and the agreement to abstain from handing out presents to the electorate during electoral campaigns.
All parties agreed to revise the current Code in the run-up to the 2009 local elections.
Policy capacity of political parties
In preparation for the local elections, the CMDID-NIMD programme has started a series of interparty dialogue meetings on the regional and local level. These debates bring together national, regional and local party representatives, Members of Parliament, civil society organisations, and civil servants. For three days, participants assess a political issue at stake in the region, and try to find a solution. In 2008, the following debates were organised: