In Mali, the military junta ruling Mali following this week’s coup is seeking a transitional president to restore the country’s civilian rule, the group’s spokesman said.
Ismael Wague told The Associated Press that the newly formed National Committee for the Salvation of the People will meet with political parties and civil society groups to determine the duration and composition of the transition.
His words come as West African leaders are escalating pressure on the junta and urging them to restore President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to power.
Wague, however, denied that the junta had carried out a coup d’etat, saying that Mali still has constitutional order and the 75-year-old Keita was only being held at army barracks for his own protection. He denied that the president had been ousted.
“The president of the republic resigned on his own after making an analysis of the country’s situation,” Wague said.
“For us, this is a civil transition, not a military one, and the president of the transition must reach a consensus among the forces of the nation,” he said.
Mali’s opposition coalition, the M5-RFP, has not yet said if it will be part of the transition, though experts say it is likely. It is holding marches Friday in Bamako, the capital, “to pay tribute to the Malian people for their heroic struggle,” they said in a statement.
The coalition called on the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, “the African Union and the international community as a whole to better understand the situation in Mali apart from questions of sanctions and to support the Malian people in their quest for peace and reconciliation. national, genuine democracy and better living.”
The M5-RFP welcomed Keita’s resignation and the dissolution of the National Assembly, it said in a statement Friday. Though the M5-RFP was not involved in the overthrow, they led mass demonstrations starting in June calling for Keita’s ouster.