Mali Appoints New President After Military Coup

Mali Appoints New President After Military Coup

A military officer who helped depose the president of Mali in a coup last month has announced that a retired colonel will lead the West African country as interim president until they hold elections in 2022.

Malian soldiers abducted the former president, Boubacar Keïta, and made him

resign on state television in August in a coordinated coup that

capitalized on a ballooning popular uprising against the government.

Regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States had tried

but failed to mediate talks with the protest movement before the coup.

After Mr. Keïta was overthrown on Aug. 18, ECOWAS leaders met with the coup

plotters to limit the time before they held the next elections and to

insist that a military officer not lead the interim government.

Though the new president, Bah N’Daou, is technically a civilian, he is both a retired military officer

and a former defense minister who served under Mr. Keïta.

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He also served as an aide to Mali’s former military dictator, Moussa Traoré.

Mr. N’Daou’s appointment was announced in a statement on Monday by Col. Assimi Goïta,

who was the leader of the coup against Mr. Keïta and who will also serve as Mr. N’Daou’s vice president.

Both men were appointed by a group of 17 electors chosen by the coup leaders and will be sworn in on Friday.

The unrest in Mali began in June when a coalition of opposition politicians, religious leaders

and civil society groups organized protests against the government in what became known as the June 5 Movement.

Protesters said the government had not done enough to address the corruption

and bloodshed that has plagued the country for eight years.

Regional and French counterterrorism forces, with American support, have been

pulled into Mali as part of a fight against a terrorist insurgency in the vast stretch of land south of the Sahara known as the Sahel.

But the main incitement for the mass demonstrations — which repeatedly pulled tens of thousands of people into the streets —

was the perception that Mr. Keïta had altered the results of a legislative election in April.

Security forces in the capital, Bamako, cracked down on the movement

in July and they killed several protesters.

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