Mali’s new president Bah Ndaw is to be sworn into office, five weeks after the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
Former Defence Minister Bah Ndaw, 70, was picked by the coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, to head a transitional government until elections, which are expected in 18 months. Col Goita will be his vice-president.
The appointment of a civilian president was a condition for the West African regional group, Ecowas, to lift the sanctions it imposed after the coup.Stocks of goods are running low in the capital, Bamako, where businesses are hoping for an announcement from Ecowas after the inauguration.
Bah Ndaw was said to have been chosen because he was well respected, both in the military and by the general public. He’s also said to get on well with Col Assimi Goita.
Portraying a unified front will be central to the success of the tenure of Mr Ndaw and his vice-president. Any perception that the interim president is not really in charge could lead to renewed international pressure on the junta.
West African heads of state are afraid the coup in Mali may lead to other uprisings in a region that is facing several elections in the coming months.Members of the opposition M5-RFP coalition which organised mass protests against the ousted leader will also be watching closely, having already felt sidelined in the process of appointing a replacement.
The next 18 months will be crucial in determining how close or far Mali steers from democracy.