President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita appoints ministers in bid to end Mali’s political crisis
Bamako - A new 'restricted' government of six members has been formed in Mali and tasked with solving the country's protracted political crisis, according to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Keita, who had been without a government since April, made the appointments under pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has been involved in mediating the crisis.
The president reappointed Defence Minister Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele, Territorial Administration Minister Boubacar Alpha Bah and Foreign Minister Tiebile Drame, according to a decree read on national television late on Monday.
He also made three new appointments: lawyer Kassoum Tapo as justice minister; former Development Bank of Mali director Abdoulaye Daffe as finance minister; and former chief of army staff Bemba Moussa Keita as security minister.
ECOWAS further requested Mali's 31 parliamentarians to resign, including the speaker of the National Assembly, to allow for new elections.
The volatile West African nation has been scrambling to maintain political stability ever since tens of thousands of opposition supporters accused Keita of gross intimidation and buying votes during a controversial parliamentary election in April, which gave Keita's administration a firm majority.
Talks between the government and the opposition, which is led by popular cleric Mahmoud Dicko, a former ally of Keita, have so far failed.
Last week, a high-stakes mediation effort by a group of West African presidents also failed to resolve the rifts between rivals.
Political instability in Mali is seen as a dangerous development for the entire Sahel region, which already faces ongoing threats from numerous terrorist and separatist groups.