ECOWAS ultimatum in Mali to appoint a transitional president

► What does ECOWAS require?

It is on a martial note that the 57e summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ended on Monday, September 7. In their final communiqué, she addressed the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), the ruling junta in Mali, asking it to appoint a president and a transitional prime minister by September 15.

The president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, had previously specified that the transition should be “Headed by a civilian president and prime minister for a period of 12 months”.

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In the meantime, ECOWAS sanctions are maintained: border closures, and an embargo on financial and trade exchanges with Mali. But no details have been given in the event that the junta does not respond to the request of ECOWAS.

► How to understand this ultimatum?

From a legal point of view, ECOWAS presents itself as the guarantor of the rule of law which applies to its organization: condemnation of coups d’état and return as quickly as possible to constitutional order. But the very short deadline requested of the CNSP to appoint two civilians at the head of the transition when the junta has just opened a national consultation, surprised observers.

A decision that seems more political than legal. Indeed, several heads of state of ECOWAS are themselves in a fragile situation vis-à-vis their population and must face protest movements that echo the situation that prevailed in Mali this summer.

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A fragility that may increase in the coming weeks due to the problematic presidential election. This is the case of President Alpha Condé in Guinea and Alassane Ouattara in Côte d’Ivoire, two presidents who, after reforming their Constitution, are running for a third term in October.

In Burkina Faso, the presidential election in November takes place, as in Mali, in a context of state and security collapse. In Niger, President Mahamadou Issoufou is failing to get his country out of the serious security and economic crisis that is in the process of overwhelming it. The firmness of ECOWAS is not unrelated to the real fear that its members feel of being, in turn, carried away by insurrectionary movements.

► What will the CNSP do?

Since the uprising of the Malian soldiers on August 18, the CNSP has taken actions aimed at reassuring the international community. On the security aspect, the CNSP is committed to continuing collaboration with the G5 Sahel and Barkhane. On the political level, he authorized the resigning president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, to go to the United Arab Emirates for treatment.

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Finally, the CNSP began last Saturday in Bamako and in the regional capitals, consultations on the transition, the first round of negotiations before the meeting announced from September 10 to 12. Among the themes addressed, the educational, health and economic crisis, youth unemployment, impunity, constitutional reform.

The roadmap for the transition should be agreed at the end of the week meeting. On the quality of the president of the transition, regions have already expressed themselves. A soldier, for the regions of Mopti in the center and Timbuktu in the North. A civilian for Gao, in the north.

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