Mali coup leader Col. Assimi Goita named interim president

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May 29 (UPI) — Mali’s constitutional court has named Col. Assimi Goita as the country’s new interim president after he led a military coup earlier this week.

The court said Goita should “lead the transition process to its conclusion.”

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Having served as interim vice president since an August coup, Goita had already declared himself transitional president on Wednesday after ordering the arrests of former interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.

The two were released from prison Thursday after officially resigning. They had been tasked with transition toward democracy after the first coup, but Goita accused them of sabotage when they reshuffled the Cabinet Monday without consulting him.

Goita also led the coup in August, which ousted then-President Ibrahim Keita. The 2020 coup followed months of unrest and protests calling for Keita to resign amid a faltering economy and allegations of corruption and rigged legislative elections in the spring.

The Economic Community of West African States, which is expected to meet Sunday on its response to the coup, has said that Mali’s transition government should remain in civilian hands until its planned February elections, CNN reported. This was a condition for the lifting of sanctions in October.