Former Defense Minister appointed as transitional president by Mali Junta

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The junta that overthrew Mali’s president last month said Monday that former defense minister and retired Colonel Major Bah N’Daw will be the president during the transition period.

Bah N’Daw was appointed by a 30-person panel set up by the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), the junta that has ruled Mali since soldiers overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Aug. 18.

CNSP chief Col. Assimi Goïta made the announcement on national television.

The new president is expected to serve as head of state for several months before civilians return to power.

Bah N’Daou, right, the former defense minister of Mali, with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in 2014. Mr. N’Daou is slated to become the country’s interim president. Credit…Habibou Kouyate/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

People hold a banner showing Col. Assimi Goita, leader of the junta running Mali, as they demonstrate to show support for the support for the junta in the capital Bamako, Mali, Sept. 8, 2020.
Goïta said he has been appointed transitional vice president.

“The swearing-in ceremony will take place on Friday, Sept. 25,” he said.

These announcements came after several weeks of debate among Malians over whether the transitional government will be led by civilians or the military.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been pressuring the junta to quickly name leaders for the transition.

On Sept. 18, Goita traveled to Niamey, Niger, where he met the current president of ECOWAS, President Mahamadou Issoufou.

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