Interim President of Mali Dioncounda Traore approved and announced a new transitional government on Monday, five months after the country’s military coup.
Two weeks after the March military coup that overthrew President Amadou Toumani, military leadership handed power to a transitional government, appointing an interim President and Prime Minister.
However the leader of the coup Captain Amadou Sanogo and his junta proved unwilling to cede control of Bamako completely to civilian control. The new Government consists of 31 members. The posts of Defence Minister, Security Minister, and Minister for Territorial Administration were given to members of the military close to the junta, according to AFP. Mali state television reported that none of the ministers have ties with the toppled president.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a group of 15 West African countries, had presented Malian leadership with an ultimatum demanding a unity government that reflects the makeup of the country. ECOWAS threatened sanctions and Mali’s expulsion from the group. An initial deadline of 10 August was missed and consequently extended by the West African bloc.
The regional bloc also urged the deployment of an intervention force in Mali’s unstable northern region, which has been overrun by Islamists, forcing thousands to leave their homes. According to the United Nations, over 400,000 Malians have been displaced.
The power vacuum resulting from the coup led to Islamist groups occupying various regions and reportedly instituting Shari’a law in areas where they have a strong presence. Islamists in northern Mali outraged citizens throughout the country and the international community recently when they stoned an unmarried couple and cut off the hand of a thief.