Mali coup figure named head of transition council

BAMAKO (Reuters) – One of the army officers behind an August coup in Mali was named on Saturday to lead a new transitional legislative body, a spokesman for the authorities said.

The appointment boosts the number of military figures in key roles, something that has dismayed some political factions.

After the ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Aug. 18, hopes of a civilian-led transition were dashed by the appointment of the junta’s leader as vice president, while retired colonel Bah Ndaw became president.

At its inaugural meeting, a transitional council of 121 members has now approved as its president Colonel Malick Diaw, one of the coup’s organisers.

His nomination was backed by 111 members, said a spokesman for the group that led the junta – the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP).

The council will be responsible for voting on reforms and legislative changes during an 18-month transitional period before elections are held.

Diaw’s appointment is likely to anger the M5-RFP coalition of opposition groups, which led mass protests before the coup and backed Keita’s removal, but has voiced alarm over what it sees as the militarisation of the political sphere.

Thirteen out of Mali’s 20 regions are now governed by military officers following new appointments in November.

Mali’s international partners and neighbours worry political instability after the coup could derail a joint fight against militant groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have grown stronger in recent years and made vast swathes of the country ungovernable.

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