Mali’s Military Junta Appoints Former Defence Minister As Interim President

Mali’s military junta, which seized power in a coup in August after ousting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, announced on Monday that it has appointed a president of the country’s new transition government, reported Reuters.

The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), led by Col Assimi Goita, announced that it appointed former Defence Minister Ba N’Daou as president of Mali’s new transitional government. Col Goita was nominated as the transitional vice-president.

Col Goita said the transitional president and his vice-president were appointed by a group of 17 electors chosen by the junta to oversee an 18-month transition leading up to fresh elections. However, he did not confirm whether the vice president would remain next-in-line to the presidency.

The new president will lead the country for several months before staging elections and returning Mali to civilian rule. Presidential elections will eventually be held after the transition which the junta has set for 18 months.

N’Daw served as Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs under the presidency of former President Keita from May 2014 to January 2015. The sworn-in ceremony will take place on Sept. 25.

The appointment was made as Mali’s military rulers had come under intense pressure from leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to return power to civilians following the coup.

It currently remains unclear whether the arrangement would satisfy ECOWAS, which last week threatened to step up economic sanctions and impose a total embargo on landlocked Mali if its conditions were not met.

Keïta was overthrown on 18 August following mass protests against his rule over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy and a dispute over legislative elections. It was the fourth coup in the West African state since it gained independence from France in 1960.

A delegation led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is due to visit Mali on Wednesday.

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