Mali’s former defence minister, retired Col. Major Ba N’Daou has been named as interim president by the military junta.
The coup leaders named Ba N’Daou ahead of his swearing in on September 25 so he can oversee the 18-month transition period towards a return to civilian rule.
The Head of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, Colonel Assimi Goïta made the announcement in a national televised address.
Goïta himself will also be sworn in as transitional vice-president on Friday, the same day Ba N’Daou is to assume his role.
#Mali exDefence minister, retired ColMaj Ba N’Daou named interim president to oversee 18-month transition. He will be sworn in 25Sept.
Junta leader Assimi Goita is now vice president. pic.twitter.com/GpaFGTu6Br
— Aisha Dabo™ (@mashanubian) September 21, 2020
The military leaders who toppled the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last month have been under pressure to hand over power to a civilian government.
West African regional bloc, ECOWAS had insisted that the military leader appoint a civilian to head a transitional government for 18 months.
During talks in Ghana’s capital Accra, ECOWAS leaders could not persuade the soldiers to hand over power to a civilian government immediately.
Elections are to be held at the end of the 18 month period to return Mali to a democratic rule.
Mali has already been hit with sanctions and ECOWAS is hoping the political crisis can be resolved quickly so sanctions can be lifted.
The chairman of the regional bloc said, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Addo told journalists that “We need a civilian leadership of the transition and we have also made it clear that the minute that leadership input is in place…the sanctions…would be lifted.”
The sanctions include border closures and the suspension of financial flows, though these were eased so they did not hit ordinary civilians.
This is the fourth coup in the West African state since it gained independence from France in 1960.