Mali’s military rulers are facing a regional deadline for naming a civilian interim leader. The regional bloc known as ECOWAS has said the junta must announce a transitional government by Tuesday.
The deadline looms as presidents from six West African countries meet in Ghana to discuss Mali’s political future nearly one month after a military coup. ECOWAS and other countries insist the transition back to democracy must be led by a civilian. However, the junta maintains that the person chosen to lead the interim government could come from military ranks.
ECOWAS had attempted to mediate Mali’s political crisis back in July after growing street demonstrations called for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. However, the political opposition made clear it would accept nothing short of his ouster, and mutinous soldiers capitalized on Keita’s unpopularity when they launched the Aug. 18 coup.
Deep divisions have emerged in the weeks since between the opposition coalition and the junta leaders. Over the weekend, the opposition publicly criticized the junta for saying that the country’s interim leader didn’t have to be a civilian.
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