The appointment of the leader of the coups increases the stakes as West African leaders prepare to respond to the coup in Mali.
Mali’s constitutional court has appointed the colonel who led a military coup this week as the country’s new interim leader.
The ruling, issued on Friday afternoon, stated that Assimi Goita “would lead the transition process to its conclusion” and would carry the title of “president of the transition, head of state.”
The court said it had made the decision due to the “vacancy in the presidency” following the resignation of interim President Bah Ndaw.
Goita, 38, was previously an Ndaw deputy and had ordered the arrest of the former leader on Monday following a cabinet reshuffle that removed his ministerial posts from two soldiers.
Ndaw resigned during his detention on Wednesday and was later released.
Friday’s ruling boosted the stakes as West African leaders prepared to meet on Sunday to decide how they would respond to the acquisition, which regional and Western governments fear could exacerbate instability in the north and center. of Mali and undermine a regional struggle against armed groups linked to -Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS).
Goita’s power is his second in less than a year.
Last August, the young colonel led a coup that ousted Mali’s elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, amid protests against the perception of corruption and the government’s failure to quell armed groups. But in the face of the threat of regional sanctions, Goita and other coup leaders agreed to hand over power to a transitional government that would lead the country into civilian rule.
The colonel was then appointed vice-president of the Provisional Government and his fellow soldiers received key positions in the cabinet.
At the time, mediators from the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) insisted that Mali’s transition, which should end with the February elections, will continue to be led by the civilian population. The bloc stipulated in a joint statement that the vice president of the transition “in no case can replace the president.”
ECOWAS heads of state will meet in Ghana on Sunday.
Nicolas Haque, of Al Jazeera, an informant for Mali’s capital, Bamako, said Goita’s appointment as interim president was “a long time”.
Ndaw’s arrest on Monday raised any illusions of a civilian-led transition, Haque said, while the constitutional court ruling made it clear that “Mali’s real strongman is Assimi Goita.”
“In the run-up to this announcement, Goita has met with religious leaders, union leaders and the opposition to try to bring them together in their cause,” Haque said. “Therefore, this court ruling is not a surprise.”
Goita, however, still has to deal with the approaching threat of regional sanctions, the correspondent added.
On Friday before, the colonel made his first public statements since his last takeover and said the military had no choice but to intervene.
“We had to choose between disorder and cohesion within the defense and security forces and we chose cohesion,” he said.
He added that he would appoint a new prime minister from among the members of the M5-RFP coalition, who led the protests against Keita last year and who fell with Ndaw and Ouane during the transition.
Coalition member Jeamille Bitar said his choice for office would be Choguel Maiga, a former government minister.