The Sudanese Republic and
Senegal became independent of France in
1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few
months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali.
Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 by a military coup
that ushered in a period of democratic rule. President Alpha KONARE won
Mali’s first two democratic presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. In
keeping with Mali’s two-term constitutional limit, he stepped down in
2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE, who was elected to a second
term in 2007 elections that were widely judged to be free and fair.
Malian returnees from Libya in 2011 exacerbated tensions in northern
Mali and Tuareg ethnic militias started a rebellion in January 2012.
Low-mid level soldiers, frustrated with the poor handling of the
rebellion overthrew TOURE on 22 March. Intensive mediation efforts led
by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) returned
power to a civilian administration in April with the appointment of
interim President Dioncounda TRAORE. The post-coup chaos led to rebels
expelling the Malian military from the three northern regions of the
country and allowed Islamic militants to set up strongholds. Hundreds
of thousands of northern Malians fled the violence to southern Mali and
neighboring countries, exacerbating regional food insecurity in host
communities. A military intervention to retake the three northern
regions began in January 2013 and within a month most of the north had
been retaken. Democratic elections are scheduled for mid-2013.
Location – interior Western
Africa, southwest of Algeria, north of Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and
Burkina Faso, west of Niger