The President of the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) of Mali, Soumaïla Cissé, died at the age of 71 following Covid-19 this Friday, December 25, 2020 in Paris.Leader of the Malian opposition, he was the main favourite in the upcoming presidential election, which should put an end to the fifteen months of transition since the coup d’état of 18 August 2020.
The main Malian opponent was kidnapped by Al-Qaida jihadists in the Islamic Maghreb on 25 March 2020 while campaigning for parliamentary elections in the Timbuktu region in the northwest. He was released six months later at the same time as French Sophie Pétronin and two Italians in exchange for 200 detainees released at the request of the jihadists.
Born on 20 December 1949 in Timbuktu, Mali, Soumaila Cissé was Minister between 1993 and 2002, President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) from 2004 to 2011. He also ran many times in the presidential elections in 2002, 2013 and 2018.
He retired to the French capital where he had been evacuated, suffering from the coronavirus. All the Malian people anticipated him as the future president of the Republic in the upcoming presidential elections.