Experts Propose Two-Year Transition Plan For Mali

Constitutional experts have proposed a two-year transition plan for Mali following a military coup that ousted Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18.

The proposal defys calls by the 15-member Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) that the junta return Mali to democracy within a year.

The bloc also gave the junta – the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) – until Tuesday to name a transitional president and prime minister.

It had also slammed Mali with economic sanctions over fears it could set a dangerous precedent in the region and undermine the fight against Islamist militants across West Africa’s Sahel region.

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The experts’ recommendations emerged on the second day of talks on a transition.

In an eight-page “charter of the transition” the experts wrote that a transitional period of 24 months was needed “in light of the complexity, the gravity and the structural depth of the Malian crisis”.

The experts recommended that the military junta choose the interim president and vice president and propose the prime minister, who would be appointed by the interim president.

The recommendations have not yet been formally approved by the representatives of the CNSP, political leaders and civil society groups taking part in the talks, which are due to end on Saturday.

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Some Malian political leaders have insisted, along with ECOWAS, that the interim president is a civilian, but the document said the person can be a soldier or civilian.

The candidate must be between the ages of 35 and 75 and would not be eligible to stand for election at the end of the transition, it said.

Ghana will host a mini-summit of ECOWAS leaders next Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Ghana’s foreign ministry said. It has not said what it will do if its demands are not met by then.

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