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Biometric ID card delays among reasons for Mali constitutional referendum postponement

Biometric ID card delays among reasons for Mali constitutional referendum postponement
 

Mali’s constitutional referendum, which was initially due to take place on 19 March, will no longer go ahead as planned in part due to delays in the issuance of the biometric national ID card. The card can be used as a voter’s ID during the referendum in line with the country’s new electoral law.

No alternative date has been put forward. France 24 reports authorities saying the referendum will be “lightly” delayed.

Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization and spokesman of the military government, Abdoulaye Maïga, spoke over the weekend on state broadcaster ORTM, as reported by Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

According to the news agency, some Malians find the postponement of the vote as no surprise as eight million of the citizens eligible to cast a ballot in the referendum would not have been able to acquire the new biometric national ID before 19 March.

The government spokesman said a new date will be decided after consultations with the independent electoral management authority.

The Mali referendum is meant to approve a new constitutional proposed by the military regime in the West African country.

The transitional military government in Mali, in a decree last November, decided to put in place a new generation biometric national ID card in conformity with regional prescriptions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on ID and travel documents, reports Maliweb.

In another report in January, Maliweb recounted that work was ongoing to make sure that the production and distribution of the new cards could begin.

The new Mali ID card, which will replace the former NINA card used by citizens, will be obligatory for citizens aged 15 years and above, the outlet notes. First-time issuance of the card is free.

Liberia electoral commission seeks millions in funds

While Mali has postponed its referendum vote indefinitely over operational issues, fears over the smooth conduct of biometric voter registration in Liberia continue as the country’s election management body NEC keeps pushing for more funds.

As Front Page Africa reports, NEC chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah told a Liberian Senate plenary recently that the Ministry of Finance is yet to pay the remaining sum of US$3.375 million for the election preparations. She said the agency is also expecting an additional US$1.65 million from the Ministry for senatorial by-election in the County of Lofa.

Lansanah, during the plenary, also briefed the Senators about ongoing preparations at various levels ahead of the biometric voter registration due to begin on 20 March.

Liberia has general elections in October and the country’s first biometric voter registration exercise is due to start on 20 March.

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