23:58 GMT15 June 2021
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    Mali's Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that the offices of vice president and interim president would be combined, making Vice President Colonel Assimi Goita the head of state.

    “Starting from the notification about this decree, the Vice President of the transitional period will have a title of the President of the transitional period and the head of state,” Article 3 of the court’s ruling says.

    Goita, who masterminded the August 2020 coup d'etat that brought down democratically-elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, also removed the interim president appointed to replace Keita earlier this week. Former Interim President Bah Ndaw, former Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, and former Defense Minister Souleymane Doucoure were arrested on Monday and taken to a military base until being stripped of their offices, and ultimately set free on Thursday.

    Neither the court nor Goita has mentioned the empty offices of the prime ministry and defense ministry.

    According to Goita, they had "sabotaged" the transition back to democratic governance by firing two army colonels appointed to head the defense and security ministries without asking him first. He pledged at the time that the timeline prescribing 2022 elections would remain unchanged.

    As Sputnik has reported, Goita and much of the Malian military have received training from US Special Operations forces, as well as in France and Germany. On Thursday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell indicated that despite the coup, the EU's military training mission in Mali, conducted by 600 troops from dozens of European states, would continue for the time being.

    Goita's interim government is a precarious alliance between this cadre of highly-trained soldiers and the mass movement of protesters and opposition figures that demonstrated in the streets of Bamako and other cities for months before the August coup. The June 5 Movement - Gathering of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP) umbrella had reportedly been pressuring Ndaw to reduce the military's role in the transitional government, leading to the cabinet reshuffle on Monday that became the impetus for the coup.

    It's unclear how Goita's seizure of power will affect that alliance, although Ndaw himself was also military man - a colonel who had been Keita's defense secretary at the time of the August coup.


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    constitutional court, interim government, coup, Mali
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