Bah Ndaw sworn in as Mali civilian leader

BY BBC News

Mali’s new president has been 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 is 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 Malian capital, Bamako.
But after Mr Ndaw’s inauguration, Ecowas officials said they would only lift the embargo after a civilian prime minister was also appointed.

Mr Ndaw was 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.

Mr Ndaw is a Soviet-trained helicopter pilot who rose through the ranks of Mali’s air force, Mr Ndaw most recently served as Defence Minister for the ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

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