Mali: New president to take office Thursday

Mali's Speaker of Parliament Dioncounda Traore (R) stands next to Captain Amadou Sanogo (C) after they met at the Kati military barracks outside Bamako on April 9. Dioncounda is preparing to take office as interim head of state, a step that would end a brief period of military rule in a country where Tuareg and Islamist rebels control half the territory. AFP|AFRICA REVIEW |




Mali's Parliament speaker will be sworn in as interim president on Thursday, ending a brief period of military rule that saw Tuareg rebels and Islamists seize half of the west African country.


The Constitutional Court formally approved the weekend resignation of President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was ousted in a March 22 coup by junior officers demanding more resources to combat the rebel offensive.

In certifying that the presidency had been vacated, the court said in a ruling that the speaker, Dioncounda Traore, will be "the interim president of the republic".

A source close to the constitutional court said the swearing-in would take place on Thursday at 0900 GMT, restoring civilian rule in the troubled state, which is also facing an escalating humanitarian crisis in the north.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) hit the junta with tough sanctions after the coup, while a motley crew of rebel factions took advantage of the political chaos and seized strategic towns across the north, including legendary Timbuktu.


In exchange for lifting the sanctions ECOWAS forced the junta to accept a transition deal that called for Traore to become the civilian head of state charged with organising elections in one of the world's poorest countries.

ECOWAS also obtained from the junta "an agreement in principle" to release nine members of the former regime arrested during the coup, including at least five ministers, perhaps as soon as Thursday, Ivory Coast's minister for African integration, Adama Bictogo, told AFP.

Tuesday's court ruling stated that a vote must be held within the next 40 days. Toure was not a candidate in elections that had been scheduled for April 29, which were cancelled following the coup.

An interim prime minister will also be appointed to head "a government of national unity", according to the terms of the ECOWAS deal.

New interim leader to conduct fresh elections

ECOWAS has been instrumental in getting the coup plotters to step down