Malians overwhelming approved changes in the constitution in the 18 June referendum with 97% of the vote, the West African country’s electoral commission said.
The country’s military rulers and regional powers said the vote will lead to elections in February next year and then the return to civilian rule.
Turnout among the 8.4 million registered voters was just under 40%, Moustapha Cisse, the head of the electoral commission, announced.
The country has seen two military coups since August 2020, when President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was overthrown.
Junta leader and interim President Assimi Goïta said in an address that he was “convinced that this referendum paves the way for a new, strong, efficient and emerging Mali, but above all a Mali at the service of the wellbeing of the people”.
Ahead of the referendum there were concerns that the new constitution would give sweeping powers to the president, who will now have the right to hire and fire the prime minister and cabinet members.
Under the changes, a second parliamentary chamber is set to be created to enhance wider political representation. The constitutional changes also designate Mali as a secular state, a move opposed by some Islamic clerics.