Power tussle in Mali as interim leader's transition term endsBy KOUF KAF in Bamako | Saturday, May 19 2012 at 18:33
Mali is in a state of uncertainty with the term of interim President Dioncounda Traoré set to lapse by Tuesday with signs that the junta that has been pulling the strings behind the scene is not keen on an extension to his 40-day term.
Prof Traoré's term will end on May 20, although some have argued that it ends two days later based on his inauguration date.
But Malians remain in the dark about coup leader Capt Amadou Haya Sanogo's intentions with the interim President having said that he would leave next week if there is no consensus.
The international community has urged the transition period span one year with a view to holding elections but the junta have stalled on this despite having "handed over" to civilians last month.
Observers say the junta is keen on taking back full power so as to influence political and economic changes in the troubled west African country until recently seen as a democratic success story on the continent.
Capt Sanogo recently rounded on the civilian political class which has blamed him for the crisis following his overthrow of President Amadou Toumani Touré on March 22 just weeks to a general election.
"They did not do anything to influence [Mr Touré's] decisions about the crisis in the northern part of our country," he said.
The junta deposed the President after they blamed him for a weak response to an advance in the north by rebels who have since declared an independent state there, effectively splitting the country into two.
Capt Sanogo would apparently like to imitate Mr Touré, who introduced introduced multipartism in Mali and passed power on to a democratically elected civilian President.
But there are doubts about his willingness to leave power, with analysts likening the scenario to Gen Moussa Traoré’s regime of 1968-1991.
When Lt Moussa Traoré became head of state on November 19, 1968, he promised that the junta would leave power within a few months.
But the country got its new constitution in 1974, and four years later, a one party system that reinforced the Traoré administration.
Regional bloc Ecowas and world powers such as the United States have cranked up the pressure and urged the junta to exit.
On Thursday Ecowas reaffirmed its threat to re-impose sanctions if there is no agreement on a transition President. Mr Traoré is essentially a honorary President, with full powers residing with the prime minister, Dr Cheick Modibo Diarra.
Ecowas mediators are this weekend negotiating with those in power including the junta, which has proposed a national convention to elect the transition President.
Only the small parties and groups have however supported the convention proposal.
Mali's Parliament Friday passed an amnesty law that protects the junta and its allies from being charged over the putsch, and covers a range of crimes committed between March 21 and April 12 when the interim leader was inaugurated.
It remains to be seen if the junta will again reluctantly let go.
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