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Malian junta appoints interim leader ahead of ECOWAS deadline


Malian junta appoints interim leader ahead of ECOWAS deadline

mali junta
Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Mali’s military junta has today appointed ex-defence minister Ba N’Daou as the nation’s interim leader following the ultimatum given by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to hand over power.

Since the August 18 coup, ECOWAS has suspended its financial and commercial exchanges with Mali. It had also threatened to impose harsher embargos from September 23 onward if the junta did not appoint a civilian president and prime minister by Tuesday’s deadline.

Despite disagreements between the June 5 Movement–Rally of Patriotic Forces coalition (M5-RFP), which led the nation’s months-long protests, and the military faction during national consultations, the junta instituted an independent college to expedite the appointment of the transitionary leadership. Despite M5-RFP’s exclusion from the process, now that N’Daou has been appointed, an ECOWAS negotiator will visit Bamako this Wednesday in what will represent a first step in the normalisation of relations.

Mali’s months-long period of political turmoil and military governance has highlighted and exacerbated unsolved issues like weak governance, widespread corruption and the expansion of the illegal economy. Yet, with a step forward in the transition to civilian governance, Mali will now be able to resort to international aid to better its security problem, weakened economy and COVID-19-induced health crisis.

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