Former Mali foreign minister Moctar Ouane has been named the West African nation’s prime minister as it struggles to return to normalcy following last month’s overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Ouane was named to the post Sunday by transitional President Bah N’Daw, who was installed by the ruling junta Friday, with coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita named vice president. Ouane served as foreign minister from 2004 to 2011, after representing Mali as its envoy to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002.
The installation of Ouane as prime minister could lead to the removal of sanctions imposed on Mali by the regional economic bloc ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) after the 75-year-old Keita and then-Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested by military troops on August 18 at Keita’s house in the capital, Bamako.
Mali had been mired in months of protests led by the main opposition party, June 5 Movement, over an economic crisis, corruption and Keita’s failure to quell an eight-year-old Islamic insurgency that has gained a foothold in central Mali. Anger also brewed over the results of 31 disputed legislative races held in April.
ECOWAS suspended all financial transactions between Mali and its 14 other member states and closed their shared borders after the coup. The bloc has called for the junta to return the country to civilian leadership and hold elections within a year for a president and prime minister in exchange for ending the sanctions.
The military has been seeking a three-year transition, to include the writing of a new constitution.