Mali Begins to Form New GovernmentSeptember 11, 2013 in Mali
Mali’s first post-war Prime Minster began to form a new government as both France and the United States pledged their support and gave an early vote of confidence to the new administration. Oumar Tatm Ly, who was named as head of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s government last week, will be taking over the role from interim premier Diango Cissoko. The newly appointed Prime MInister will be expected to deliver the promises put forth by the President, which include reuniting a deeply divided nation and cracking down on corruption. Following the selection of the new Prime Minister, Mali’s new administration received a significant boost on Friday when the US State Department indicated that Washington would resume development aid to Mali, which had been suspended after the ex-president was ousted in a coup last year. A statement released by the State Department indicated that the transition means “a democratically elected government has taken office in Mali,” adding that Washington would continue to assess the situation prior to renewing military assistance. US support of the new administration came shortly after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius welcomed Ly’s appointment. In a statement released by his office, Mr. Fabius stated that “alongside President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the competence of Oumar Tatam Ly will be a valuable asset in confronting the challenges facing Mali and the Sahel,” adding that “as Mali opens a new page, it can count on France, which will be its partner, ally and friend.” The newly appointed Prime Minister has spent most of the last two decades as a central bank functionary and is therefore expected to rely on advisers who have greater political experience. He will also be responsible for selecting colleagues for a cabinet that has been charged with returning stability to a country that was upended by a military coup and Islamist insurgency last year. While Mr. Ly began consultations with potential ministers immediately after being appointed to the post on Thursday, officials have not indicated who was in consideration for the major portfolios. Born in Paris, France, Mr. Ly quickly became a promising academic, gaining degrees in history and economics from a number of prestigious French universities, including the Sorbonne, and ESSEC, which is one of Europe’s top business schools. He began his career at the World Bank before moving via the general secretariat of the president of Mali to the Central Bank of West African States in 1994. He rose to become national director for Mali and then adviser to the governor. While he has never held high public office, Mr. Ly comes from a family that has been deeply involved in West African politics and is considered to be a close confidante of the current president.