Key Figure In Mali Coup to Head National Transition Council

Colonel Malick Diaw, one of the key figures in the 18 August Coup in Mali, has been elected to lead the National Transition Council.

Diaw, one of the key figures in the coup that ousted Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta from power, was elected unopposed as president of the 121-seat council on Saturday.

The colonel got 111 votes in his favour, with seven abstentions while three council members chose not to vote.

Diaw was second-in-command of the military government that took power after Keita’s overthrow. The military government has never been formally dissolved.

The National Transition Council, an interim legislative body, is supposed to play a crucial role in the West African country’s transition to civilian rule within 18 months.

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The June 5 Movement, an opposition group which organised massive street protests against then-president Keita, is boycotting the body.

Junta leader Col Assimi Goita is the interim vice-president, while former Defence Minister Bah Ndaw leads the country.

Goita was also given veto power over the appointments to the new legislature, in a move seen by critics of the interim regime as strengthening army control.

Members of the defence and security forces have 22 seats in the transition council, according to a government decree, while political parties, civil society groups and trade unions also have seats.

Mali is facing huge economic problems, while also battling an intense Islamist insurgency. Thousands of French, African and UN troops have been sent to the country to tackle the militants.

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The coup sparked international condemnation, but it was welcomed by many Malians.

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