Mali's anti-putsch front demands prime minister resign

The interim Prime Minsiter of Mali, Cheick Modibo Diarra (R), speaks with Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, during a diplomatic meeting in Ouagadougou, on July 17, 2012. (AFP PHOTO / AHMED OUABA)

BAMAKO: A grouping of Mali's main political parties formed after a March coup, on Tuesday demanded the resignation of the interim prime minister whom they accused of "incompetence and amateurishness".

"Three months after its formation, the transition government led by Cheick Modibo Diarra has only become bogged down in incompetence and amateurishness and Mali is only sinking deeper," the United Front for the Defence of the Republic and Democracy said in a statement.

The FDR called for Diarra to "resign in order to facilitate consultations to put in place a new prime minister and a government of national union".

The grouping unites some 40 political parties and about 100 civil society organisations.

The call for Diarra's resignation comes as the prime minister is working on forming a wider unity government which the Economic Community of West African States said must be formed by July 31.

He has presented a roadmap to mediator Blaise Compaore as a way out of the country's post-coup crisis.

The FDR criticised this as "a plan of action without political or strategic vision, and without a timeline or precise plan, clearly concocted under the pressure of events and in which the burning priorities of the nation are scarcely in evidence".

The grouping notably accused Diarra of having "no strategy to free, through war or negotiation" the north of the country which has been occupied by Islamist groups for nearly four months.

The Al Qaeda-linked groups seized control of the north in a takeover spearheaded by separatist Tuareg rebels, taking advantage of the chaos created by the coup in the capital.

They have since pushed out the Tuareg fighters, and set about enforcing strict Islamic law.

The formation of a wider unity government comes as an interim government set up after the coup has proved unable to deal with the crisis in the north.

The aim is to unite the disparate political forces in Mali to take back control of the north and halt attacks in Bamako against public figures and journalists.

The attacks have been carried out by armed men believed to be close to the former military junta, which has handed over power but remains influential.

ECOWAS wants to send a 3,000-strong military force to Mali, but is waiting for United Nations approval and a formal request from Bamako.

The regional bloc's military experts are currently carrying out an "audit" of the foundering Malian army to determine its needs, and to allow Mali's authorities to write precise requests to the United Nations and African Union.





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