A Huge Decision
Head of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, Colonel Assimi Goïta, issued a nationally televised announcement pronouncing Ba N'Daou, previously the Minister of Defence, as the Malian transitional president appointed by a committee set up by the junta in power since ousting — in a coup d-état, ex-president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18th. The new president is expected to serve as head of state for several months before a return of civilians to power.
The Colonel has been designated transitional vice-president with the ceremony to swear in both officials scheduled for Friday, September 25.
This comes in light of weeks-long tension in Mali over the civilian or military nature of the transition and pressure from the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for a swift transition to civilian power.
The NCSP had promised to honour all international agreements on fighting Islamist extremist jihadists committing violent acts of terrorism in the region after ousting ex-président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. A move welcomed by the Malian people — many of whom had staged a 3-month protest for his resignation as they denounced government corruption and a challenged economy.
Assimi Goita recently issued a public statement at a media-covered conference to the Malian population, "We make a commitment before you to spare no effort in the implementation of all these resolutions in the exclusive interest of the Malian people. We request and hope for the understanding, support and accompaniment of the international community in this diligent and correct implementation of the Charter and the transition roadmap. The results you have achieved allow me to hope for the advent of a new, democratic, secular and prosperous Mali."
Presidential elections will eventually be held after the transition which the junta has set for 18 months. This is six months too long for ECOWAS leaders who have repeatedly called for a maximum 1 -year transition as a condition to lift the already imposed sanctions on the West African nation.
The M5 opposition movement has already outrightly rejected the charter.
President 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. The coup sparked international condemnation, but it was welcomed by many Malians.
This was the fourth coup in the West African state since it gained independence from France in 1960.