Malian coup leaders lengthen transition, seek place in interim government

By Idrissa Diakite

Bamako, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Mali’s military junta, which took power after the coup on Aug. 18, and the country’s political forces on Saturday agreed on an 18-month transition plan that leaves the door open for the military to lead the interim government.

The spokesman for the national dialog, Moussa Camara, said that this transition, drawn up after three days of negotiations, begins with the appointment of an interim president and vice president by a council elected by the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (NCSP), which led the coup against former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

“Any candidate for the post of president or transitional vice president must be a Malian of origin and nationality, civilian or military, between 35 and 70 years of age,” said Camara.

The document has left open the possibility of a military man directing the transition, which is rejected by the largest opposition group to the previous regime, M5-RFP, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS, a regional body to which Mali belongs), which demands that the next stage last less than a year.

In their first conversations with ECOWAS envoys after the coup, the military junta suggested a three-year transition.

Political parties, trade unions, professional and press groups, representatives of the regions and civil society actors, as well as representatives of Malians living abroad, participated in the talks that ended Saturday.

Also taking part were members of the opposition coalition M5-RFP, a key actor in the fight against the previous regime and that openly supported the coup, among whom was the prominent religious leader Imam Mahmoud Dicko, as well as representatives of the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CAW), a coalition of armed groups.

The participants also agreed on re-establishing defense and security throughout Malian territory, the promotion of good governance, the re-founding of the educational system, political and institutional reform, the adoption of a social stability pact and the celebration of general elections.

According to the document signed Saturday, the interim president will appoint a 25-member transitional government, led by a prime minister appointed by the transitional president.

Likewise, the road map stipulates the formation of a legislative body called the National Transition Council made up of 121 members representing the various national forces that participated in the dialog.

The transition document does not cite at any time the peace agreement signed in 2015 in Algiers between the government and the Tuareg armed groups in the north of the country such as the CAM, which had asked that the conclusions of that agreement govern relations between the coordinator and the coup plotters.

Following the adoption of the transition document, members of the M5-RFP were seen celebrating the victory in the corridors of the National Conference Center in the capital Bamako, where the national talks were held, chaired by the president of the NCSP, Colonel Assimi Goita.

However, M5-RFP leader Kadiatou Sow expressed her dissatisfaction Saturday, saying the draft of the roadmap did not take into account all the demands of her coalition, but in the end she accepted the definitive conclusions of the talks.

According to observers in Bamako, after gaining domestic support for the transition plan, Mali’s military junta awaits the reaction of ECOWAS and international powers as to the content of the roadmap. EFE-EPA


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