Mali opposition reiterates demand for president to resign

AFP , Wednesday 29 Jul 2020

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
File Photo: Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita poses for a picture during the G5 Sahel summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania June 30, 2020 (Reuters)

Mali's opposition on Wednesday reiterated calls for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign, rejecting a compromise floated by West African leaders seeking to help resolve a months-old political crisis.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital Bamako, opposition figurehead Mahmoud Dicko also said he had asked Prime Minister Boubou Cisse to step down.

Heads of government from the Economic Community of West African States on Monday suggested the formation of a new unity government to include opposition members -- while sticking by Keita.

Cisse had visited Dicko on Tuesday evening to invite him to bring his June 5 Movement (M5-RFP) into a unity government.

Dicko had earlier heaped scorn on the latest government offer, raising the spectre of further unrest.

The loose alliance of opposition groups and religious leaders has been channelling deep anger in the poor Sahel country over a dire economy, perceived corruption and a brutal jihadist conflict.

But much of Mali's current tension was sparked in April, when the Constitutional Court tossed out 31 results from long-delayed parliamentary elections -- a move that benefited Keita's party.

Protests ratcheted up into a crisis on July 10 when an anti-Keita rally organised by the June 5 Movement turned violent.

Eleven people died in clashes with security forces over several days, marking the bloodiest political unrest the former French colony has seen in years.

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