Mali appoints new constitutional court judges in bid to end crisis

BAMAKO (AFP) – Mali’s government said on Friday that three new judges have been appointed to the Constitutional Court in the latest bid to resolve a weeks-long political crisis that has rocked the West African country.

Numerous attempts have been made to mediate the crisis, but an opposition alliance that has led mass protests has refused to budge on its main demand: the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The current tension was sparked in April, when the Constitutional Court tossed out 30 results from a long-delayed parliamentary election – a move that significantly benefitted Keita’s party.

The West African bloc ECOWAS last week announced a plan to end the crisis which, among other things, called for the “quick recomposition” of the Constitutional Court so that new judges could sort out the electoral dispute.

Keita then announced a “de facto dissolution” of the court.

During a meeting with the President on Thursday, members of the Superior Council of Magistrates “agreed on three names, which will therefore be appointed”, Justice Minister Kassoum Tapo said in a video broadcast on Friday.

Under the constitution, the main governing body for magistrates appoints three judges to the court, while the President also appoints three, as does the national assembly.

But the Superior Council also proposed that the national assembly give up its right to pick three judges, and instead choose “from a list of six or seven people proposed by civil society” groups, the minister said.