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Mali's junta chief paves way for civilian Choguel Maiga to return as prime minister

Mali's junta chief paves way for civilian Choguel Maiga to return as prime minister
Choguel Maiga at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, 25 September 2021   -  
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Kena Betancur/AP


The head of Mali's ruling junta has rescinded a decree appointing a colonel as interim prime minister, paving the way for Choguel Kokalla Maiga to return to the top job, officials said Sunday evening.

Choguel Kokalla Maiga, a civilian and political veteran appointed prime minister in June 2021, was forced to step aside in August after suffering a stroke at the age of 64.

Mali's top politician, Colonel Assimi Goïta, had appointed by decree on 21 August the interim Prime Minister, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, who is also the government spokesman.

Colonel Goïta has repealed the 21 August decree, the Secretary General of the Presidency Mamadou Oulale announced on state television. 

As the previous decree appointing Choguel Kokalla Maïga as head of government has not been repealed, he is expected to automatically regain his post.

The return of Choguel Kokalla Maïga has been the subject of speculation for several days. The calculations behind this return and its implications are obscure, as the internal dynamics of the junta are shrouded in secrecy.

The interim leadership of Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga did not mark a break or significant inflection in the trajectory followed by the junta brought to power by the first coup in August 2020 and consolidated by a second in May 2021. The major decisions are considered to be taken in a restricted circle dominated by the military, elsewhere than at the seat of government.

At the head of the government for three and a half months, Colonel Maïga has followed in the footsteps of his namesake. The two men are the faces of the break with the former French ally and its partners after May 2021, and of the military and political reorientation towards Russia.

Mali has been plagued since 2012 by the spread of jihadism and a deep multidimensional, political, economic and humanitarian crisis.

Choguel Kokalla Maiga was received on 25 November by Colonel Goïta and told him he was fit to resume his post. This meeting had fuelled speculation that Choguel Maiga would be reinstated in his position.

The decree read on Sunday evening names Colonel Maiga Minister of State, still in charge of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, and called to ensure the interim of the Prime Minister in case of absence, impediment or vacancy of the post.

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