Mali junta lifts suspension on political party activities

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Mali's military junta has lifted a suspension on political party activities meant to safeguard public order, the council of ministers said late on Wednesday.

The suspension was announced in April, days before the start of a national dialogue for peace in the Sahelian nation that has been battling a jihadist insurgency for over a decade and has been under military rule since August 2020.

"By taking this deterrent measure, the government was able to contain all the threats of public disorder that hung over this major event," the council said in a statement.

Given the focus was now on implementing the recommendations of the April 13-May 10 peace dialogue, the government will allow political parties to resume their activities, it said.

Mali's junta, which seized power in a second coup in 2021, reneged on a promise to hold elections in February, postponing the vote indefinitely for technical reasons.

Political parties and civil society groups at the time reacted with anger to the junta's decision not to hold the vote and called for a return to constitutional order.

There have been eight coups in West and Central Africa since one in August 2020 in Mali, including neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger, which are fighting the same jihadist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo and Fadima Kontao; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Bernadette Baum)