Mali’s coup leaders announced a new constitution including a pledge to allow elections in which they would be barred from standing, even as several thousand supporters rallied in the streets of the capital Bamako on Wednesday. The charter, which did not specify when the elections would be held, came hours after West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc threatened sanctions and the use of military force to reverse last week’s coup that ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure. “Anyone who was a member of the CNRDRE or the government cannot be a candidate in the elections,” the new constitution, read out on state television, said of the junta, known as the National Committee for the Return of Democracy and the Restoration of the State.
It added that civilians would be offered 15 out of 41 posts in a new transitional authority intended to prepare the path for elections. Captain Amadou Sanogo, a U.S-trained soldier who led the coup, will appoint an interim prime minister and government. The new constitution guarantees the right to demonstrate or go on strike and grants immunity from prosecution for leaders of a coup in which rights groups say three people have been killed.
The coup, triggered by army anger at the government’s handling of a northern rebellion, has been condemned by the United Nations, Mali’s neighbours and powers including France and the United States.