Mali president to hold talks on new unity government

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita addresses his supporters on August 10, 2018 in Bamako. He has rejected as speculation talk of a military coup after recent jihadist attacks left dozens of soldiers dead. PHOTO | MICHELE CATTANI | AFP
BAMAKO, MALI – SEPTEMBER 22: President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keita speaks during the National Day military parade on September 22, 2018 in Bamako, Mali. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Getty Images)

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced on Tuesday that he would hold talks about establishing a new unity government after weeks of criticism from the country’s political opposition.

The President, in a speech he gave in the capital Bamako, promised to meet the demands of striking teachers’ unions and suggested first steps towards reforming the constitutional court and the national parliament.

Public sector teachers’ unions had also called a strike over a promised pay rise which the government had not delivered.

On Tuesday, Keita said he would honour the government’s commitment to raising teachers’ salaries.

Keita has been struggling to maintain political support in Mali over a jihadist revolt that broke out in 2012.

Ethnic violence across the country has sparked from the conflict and claimed lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

A newly formed opposition coalition organized a mass rally in Bamako earlier this month, demanding that Keita resigns over his perceived mismanagement of the poor Sahel country.

The rally also followed frequent demonstrations last month over the outcome of recent parliamentary elections, which Keita’s party won, as well as over coronavirus restrictions.

Keita said he would “begin consultations for the formation of a government of national unity,” in an apparent overture to Mali’s political opposition.