Mali’s military junta on Thursday launches a three-day “national consultation” with political parties, unions and NGOs, facing questions at home and pressure from abroad over its plans for returning the country to civilian rule.
Around 500 people are due to attend the forum, unfolding at a conference centre in Bamako, the capital of the West African state.
The talks mark the second round of discussions between the young officers who overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18 and civilian representatives, many of whom had campaigned fiercely for him to resign.
At stake is how the junta intends to make good on its promise, made just hours after the coup, to restore civilian governance and stage elections within a reasonable time.
Early jubilation among many Malians over Keita’s exit has been superseded by questions and also divisions about the speed of the handover and the military’s role in the transition period.
The coup came after months of protests, stoked by Keita’s failure to roll back a bloody jihadist insurgency and fix the country’s many economic woes.