Dioncounda Traoré - Mali's incoming presidentBy KOUF KAF in Bamako and BBC | Thursday, April 12 2012 at 13:45
Mr Dioncounda Traoré, who took office on Thursday as Mali’s transitional president, is a fortunate man who usually emerges when situations get hard.
Before the putsch which overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré and his government last month, it was difficult for observers to gamble a victory for him in the upcoming presidential election without the support of his party.
This week he was proclaimed Head of State of Mali by the Constitutional Court after the resignation of Mr Touré. Ecowas had refused to recognise Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, the head of the military junta.
The roadmap for the transition has already been negotiated between Ecowas and the junta. Mr Traoré, as interim president, has 40 days to organise elections. He has a much tougher task of restoring peace in the north of the country where Tuareg secessionists and Islamists have taken control.
The military does not seem like it has gone away entirely. Capt Sanogo has warned that after the 40 days timeline his committee and Ecowas will meet again and discuss about the way the country should be governed.
Born in garrison town of Kati near Bamako in 1942, Dioncounda Traoré is the son of an army colonel, Sékou Traoré. After his early education in Mali and France, he got a doctoral degree in mathematics from Lycée Askia Mohamed (formerly Lycée Terrasson des Fourgères).
Between 1980 and 1990, Mr Traoré was involved in political associations which fought for multipartism in Mali. He is a founding member of ADEMA (Alliance for Democracy in Mali) which became ADEMA-PASJ (African Party for Solidarity and Justice) in May 1991.
This was the political party that governed Mali from 1992 to 2002. Mr Traoré also founded Alternance, the monthly bulletin of ADEMA.
He held senior ministerial portfolios in the ADEMA government (Public Works, Defence and Foreign Affairs). He has been the president of the National Assembly since 2007, and next in the constitutional succession line.
In 2000, he was elected as president of ADEMA-PASJ when former Primer Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Kéïta resigned from the party.
Mr Traoré at one time taught mathematics at Mali’s National Engineering School and thereafter becoming director-general of the same school, which admits students from different African countries.
He is married and has 7 children. He belongs to the Sarakholé tribe whose members are well known as traders. (Capt Sanogo is a member of the Senoufo tribe).
Mr Traoré, 70, has long harboured presidential ambitions - but he had hoped to come to power through the ballot box by contesting elections originally scheduled for later this month.
He was an ally of the deposed President Touré, who had been due to step down this month after two terms in office, and whose government people had become increasingly frustrated with his for doing little to tackle corruption and the growing insecurity and eventual rebellion in the north.
As a consequence, many Malians are wary of Mr Traoré, according to Bamako-based correspondents.
He is not regarded as charismatic nor seen by many people as a natural leader.
Correspondents say that while Mr Traore's inauguration may bring hope, lasting peace in the north will not be achieved until the end of the political uncertainty in Bamako.
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