Mali Junta Names New Prime Minister

Choguel Kokalla Maïga at World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) bilateral meetings in 2016.

The leader of the latest military coup has named a new prime minister. Choguel Maiga, a Malian political veteran, was a key player in the protest movement against deposed president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in 2020.

The leader of Mali's military junta named Choguel Maiga as the West African nation's new prime minister on Monday, ignoring calls from the international community to return power to the country's deposed civilian government.

Colonel Assimi Goita, who has headed his second coup d'etat inside nine months, was sworn in as interim president of the former French colony before naming his new premier.

The 38-year-old seized power from transitional leaders President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane last month.

He pledged earlier to hold elections in February next year, but it is unclear what role he and other military figures will play in governing Mali after that.

Maiga is a former opposition leader and his appointment had been widely expected prior to Monday's announcement on state television.

Who is Choguel Maiga?

The 63-year-old Malian political veteran was a key figure in the opposition M5 movement that called for the ousting of the elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last year.

But Maiga's appointment could raise questions for France and other world powers who have insisted that the military restore democracy to the country.

He is known to be close to influential imam Mahmoud Dicko, who was also a vocal figure in the anti-Keita protests in 2020.

Dicko also favors negotiations with Islamist insurgents, a position firmly rejected by France

Maiga has previously hit out at the 2015 Algiers peace accord, a shaky agreement between the central government and several armed groups that has never been fully implemented.

Speaking on Friday, he pledged that Mali would "respect our international commitments which are not contrary to the fundamental interests of the Malian people."

He told people rallying in Bamako that Mali needed a helping hand from its allies but that "invective, sanctions, threats will only complicate the situation".

What have world powers said about Mali?

France, the former colonial ruler, has temporarily halted joint military operations with the West African nation, where it has some 5,000 troops to tackle an Islamist insurgency.

Two continental blocs, ECOWAS and the African Union, have also suspended Mali as members, although they stopped short of slapping sanction on the junta.

The World Bank, based in Washington D.C., moved at the weekend to freeze payments to Mali until civilian rule is restored.

Its International Development Association is currently financing projects to the tune of €1.2bn ($1.5bn) in the country.

(AFP, Reuters)

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