BAMAKO, Mali – Under intense pressure from the nations bordering Mali, the junior officer who seized control of the country in a coup last month signed an accord, agreeing late Friday to return the country to constitutional rule.
The announcement was made only hours after separatist rebels in the country’s distant north declared their independence, a move that further complicates a crisis that began on March 21 when a group of disgruntled soldiers began shooting in the air at a military base, located just miles from the presidential palace.
On Friday, Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo emerged from his office inside that same military base that has acted as the de facto seat of government for the past 16 days, ever since he and his men decided to march from the barracks to the presidential palace, reversing two decades of democratic rule in the space of a single day.
Flanked by the ministers of neighboring nations, he read out the accord, stating that under Article 36 of Mali’s constitution, the head of the national assembly becomes interim president in the event of a vacancy of power. The head of the parliament will form an interim government that will organize new elections.
However, the accord did not say what role the military junta or its young leader will play in the future. It also did not state when the head of the assembly will assume the post, or how long the transition will last before new elections are held.