Mali Opposition Renews Call for President to Quit Over Militants

Opponents of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita intensified pressure on him to step down as talks to solve a months-long political crisis stalled.

Keita has faced nationwide protests in recent weeks over his administration’s failure to deal with an Islamist insurgency, political tensions over a disputed parliamentary election in March, and the worsening coronavirus outbreak. Mali is a linchpin in a five-nation, European Union-backed effort to combat the militants, who are carrying out an increasing number of attacks in the region.

A coalition of opposition parties on Sunday urged Keita to either introduce a number of reforms, or quit. The group called for fresh demonstrations on July 10 to back their demands for the formation of a national unity government and the installation of a transitional legislative body.

During a brief meeting between the parties at the weekend, Keita continued to “turn a deaf ear” to the opposition’s demands, while displaying “contempt for the Malian people,” the group said in a statement.

Thousands of protesters marched in the capital, Bamako, twice in June calling for Keita, who was re-elected in 2018, to quit and hand over executive power to a prime minister chosen by the opposition.

Keita said Sunday he has “taken note” of the group’s grievances and reiterated an offer he made last month for the opposition to join a planned national unity government.

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