Mali’s Assimi Goita declared transitional president by Constitutional Court

Colonel Assimi Goita speaks to the press at the Malian Ministry of Defence in Bamako, Mali, on August 19, 2020 after confirming his position as the president of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP). PHOTO | AFP

Mali’s Constitutional Court declared Friday that Assimi Goita, who served as transitional vice president, is Mali’s new transitional president.

In a decree published late Friday evening, Mali’s Constitutional Court said that given the vacancy of Mali’s transitional presidency after the resignation of Bah N’Daw, the transitional vice president should exercise the functions of transitional president to lead the transition process to its end.

According to Mali’s Constitution, in the event of the vacancy of the presidency of the republic for any reason, the functions of the president should be exercised by the president of the National Assembly.

But given the current vacancy is the post of transitional president and the government is dissolved, the Constitutional Court said, in accordance with the Transition Charter, the transitional vice president would be declared transitional president of Mali.

In the decree, a part of Bah N’Daw’s resignation letter was quoted as saying, “I would like, at this precise moment, while thanking the Malian people for their support over the past few months, the warmth of their affection, to tell you my decision to leave my functions, all my functions from this moment, and with all the legal consequences.”

On Monday, then transitional president Bah N’Daw and then Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were taken by force to the Kati military camp following the transitional president’s announcement of his appointment of members of the government on the proposal of the prime minister.

Colonel Goita, who was leader of the already dissolved National Committee for the Salvation of the People that overthrew then president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last year, criticized Bah N’Daw for having “accepted the resignation of the government and immediately reappointed the prime minister” in a “unilateral manner.”

He also expressed his discontent toward N’Daw for not having consulted him on the choice of ministers in charge of defense and security.

Under the pressure of the international community, the military finally released N’Daw and Ouane on May 27 after they resigned.