Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita has taken oath as interim President of Mali with indications that opposition leader Mr. Choguel Kokala Maiga would emerge as Prime Minister.
Goita, a 38-year-old Special forces Commander, who has overthrown two presidents in the past nine months, said he would oversee a transition towards democratic elections.
Goita, who first grabbed power in August 2020 by overthrowing Mali’s democratically elected president, eventually agreed to a transitional government led by a civilian president and prime minister.
But two weeks ago he ousted those civilian leaders after they announced a cabinet reshuffle that sidelined two junta supporters without consulting him. Mali’s constitutional court also approved him as interim president.
“The situation offers us the opportunity to put the process of transition back in the direction desired by the people.
“The actions necessary for the success of the transition, notably the organization of credible, fair and transparent elections that are held as scheduled,” Goita said at his inauguration.
The regional bloc ECOWAS and the African Union have suspended Mali’s membership over the latest coup, while France and the U.S. have also suspended military cooperation and support to Mali, with President Macron threatening to pull French troops out of the Sahel.
Some of France’s 5,100 Barkhane forces with headquarters in Chad are based in Mali, especially in the troubled northern and central regions.
Maiga, the prospective Prime Minister and one-time minister of Communicationsv is a leading member of the influential M5 Movement, which led massive street protests that culminated in Keita’s military ouster in August 2020.
The Movement and other opposition groups organized a pro-military solidarity rally in Bamako at the weekend, indicating a troubling divergence in domestic and international reactions to the Mali crisis.