The army planned to appoint a figure from the M5 movement as prime minister after the transitional government was ousted last month.
Hundreds of supporters of Mali’s opposition M5 movement have gathered in the capital Bamako to show support for the military days after Mali suffered a second coup.
Friday’s rally was held in Bamako’s Independence Square to commemorate the founding of the movement, which sparked mass protests last year.
But it also came after Colonel Assimi Goita sacked the civilian transition president and prime minister on May 24.
“It simply came to our notice then [rally] is a show of support for the [M5] movement, but also from the military junta, ”said Nicholas Haque of Al Jazeera, reporting from Bamako.
On May 25, Malian soldiers arrested interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and withdrew their powers, plunging the country into further uncertainty after a military coup in August last year.
Goita could name a prominent figure in the M5 as his new prime minister, an action some argue could soften international criticism of the second coup.
The latest military takeover of power has caused a diplomatic uproar, leading to the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). suspend Mali.
France, which offered a firm reprimand on Thursday, also said yes suspend joint military operations with Malian forces and would stop advising the Malian military.
Mali’s former colonial ruler has thousands of troops stationed in the Sahel to help fight armed groups after violence erupted in Mali in 2012 and now threatens the region.
France’s defense ministry said the suspension was a “conservative and temporary measure” pending the “guarantees” that Mali’s ruling government will hold elections in February 2022.
The ministry added that French troops will continue to operate in Mali, but on their own.
Goita is expected to be appointed Mali’s transitional president in a ceremony on Monday, which would pave the way for the appointment of a civilian prime minister, a key international demand.
Approach to the M5 army
On August 18 last year, Goita led army officers in overthrowing President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, following massive protests over perceived corruption and armed fighting.
M5 had led protests against Keita in 2020, but was later removed from the army-dominated post-coup administration.
This transitional government pledged to reform the constitution in October and hold elections in February next year.
But the M5 became a vocal critic, calling the transitional government a “disguised military regime.”
However, there has been a rapprochement between the group and the army since the May 24 coup.
Goita has said he would prefer to name an M5 figure as prime minister and the group presented one of its cadres, Choguel Maiga, as a candidate.
But this election in turn has raised questions about the future of Mali, particularly regarding the potential role of religious leader Mahmoud Dicko, who is close to Maiga.
The influential imam was seen as the protagonist of the M5 during the protests against Keita, but later distanced himself from the movement.
Maiga is also a vocal critic of the 2015 Algiers peace agreement, an unstable agreement between the central government and various armed groups.