Mali Coup Leaders Propose ‘Transitional President’

Coup leaders in Mali say a transitional president will be appointed, drawn from either the civilian population or the military.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was removed in a coup on Tuesday.

West African leaders have called for him to be reinstated and the UN has called for the release of officials.

But the coup leaders say they are in contact with the political opposition and other groups to try to set the transition in place.

They say elections will be held in what they describe as a reasonable time and have also promised to respect international agreements on fighting jihadists.

Military spokesman, Ismael Wague on Thursday said “We are going to set in place a transitional council, with a transitional president who is going to be either military or civilian”.

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Wague said “We are in contact with civil society, opposition parties, the majority, everyone, to try to set the transition in place”.

The opposition coalition, which had been campaigning for Mr. Keïta to resign, has called for a rally on Friday to celebrate his departure.

On Thursday, leaders of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said they would dispatch envoys to the coup-stricken nation, as regional powers escalated efforts to block a change in government and called for Keita to be restored to office.

“We have decided to immediately send a high-level delegation in order to ensure the immediate return of constitutional order,” ECOWAS said at the end of a video summit on Thursday.

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“We call for the restoration of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as president,” it said in a closing statement, read by Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, who chairs the group.

There is an increased military presence outside government ministries in the capital, Bamako, but shops and businesses have reopened.

Mr. Keïta won a second term in elections in 2018, but since June has faced huge street protests over corruption, mismanagement of the economy and disputed legislative elections.

There has also been anger among troops about pay and the conflict with jihadists.

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