The Malian military government has appointed a colonel, Abdoulaye Maiga, as the interim replacement for the country’s civilian prime minister, who has been admitted to hospital.
Maiga is also the government spokesman as well as its minister of territorial administration and decentralisation.
His appointment was announced in a decree read on state television late on Sunday.
He provisionally replaces a veteran civilian politician, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, aged 64, who was named premier after the soldiers who took power in August 2020, carried out a second coup in May 2021.
ECOWAS, West Africa’s main political and economic bloc, has been pressing Mali to respect its commitment to hold presidential and legislative elections following an August 2020 military coup. The new leadership has promised to organise democratic elections in 2024.
The ill Maiga, who shares the same name as his interim successor, had served several times as minister in previous governments.
He was an unsuccessful candidate in presidential elections in 2002, 2013 and 2018.
He was a founding member of the June 5 Movement – a coalition that had launched a wave of protests against Mali’s elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, before he was toppled in 2020.
In recent months, Maiga has come under criticism from many of his former allies for following the military’s line.
His replacement by a colonel means that both of Mali’s most senior government positions are currently in the hands of the military.
Coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita had himself appointed transitional president after the May 2021 coup.