On Saturday, September 12th, 2020, Mali established an 18-month transitional government following last month’s coup against former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta as well as, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse. The transitionary government has been approved until an election can be held.
According to Aljazeera, a charter was created, which allows for a civilian or military rule to take place during this time. A transitional council will serve as the National Assembly during these 18-months, and an election will take place for a President and Vice President — who will be in control of defense and security.
According to BBC News, the coup that took place on August 18, 2020, saw that Mali’s military junta — known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People — had Keïta and the Prime Minister arrested amidst mass protests throughout the country. This coup was led by the head of the Mali military junta, Colonel Assimi. This is not the first time the country has seen this picture, with a coup previously staged back in 2012, according to BBC News.
BBC News also states that anti-government protests were a result of the current economic condition of the West African country, corruption within the government, dispute over legislative elections, the conflict between ethnic groups, and the threat of jihadist rebellion within the country. Civilians targeted government buildings during the protests which resulted in looting and destruction. As a result of these protests, the justice’s private law office was set on fire according to VOA News.
The conflict between ethnic groups in Mali has resulted in the death of numerous civilians within the last year. Many soldiers have been killed battling jihadist rebels within the country. The UN currently has thousands of peacekeepers and French troops in Mali to combat this threat, but this has not stopped the killing of Malian soldiers according to BBC News. This has left numerous of them unhappy with both the government and Keïta.
International communities and leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have warned the junta that civilian rule is the best option, or the country will face additional economic sanctions as well as a political crisis. The ECOWAS has already stopped financial transfers into Mali as well as blocking all borders with them.
There are predictions that even with the election of a civilian ruler — which is strongly backed by international communities — there will still be a strong military influence from both the junta and Mali’s political opposition coalition, M5-RFP. According to Aljazeera, ECOWAS leaders will be holding a summit on Tuesday to discuss the transitional government. Here, the President and Vice President are said to be elected.
Malians, the international community, and ECOWAS watch closely as Mali begins to establish an interim government following weeks of protests and chaos within the country. With fears of a jihadist revolution, an ethnic divide, and political disputes, the military junta in Mali must quickly take action and assemble its transitionary government. The country’s political, economic structure, and safety rely on the outcome of successful governance in the next 18-months.