Tuesday April 23, 2024

Mali president’s ally elected to lead parliament

May 12, 2020

BAMAKO: Mali’s parliament picked a close ally of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as its head on Monday, despite tensions in the West African state surrounding his recent election to the assembly.

Moussa Timbine, the new president of the parliament, contested legislative elections in March but lost his seat in the first round, according to an initial vote count. But Mali’s constitutional court overturned the result on April 30, along with dozens of others, provoking several days of protests in the capital Bamako and in regional cities.

On Monday, Timbine was elected president of the 147-seat parliament with 134 votes in his favour. His opponent, former prime minister Moussa Mara, received eight votes. At 46-years-old, Timbine has spent most his career in the ruling Rally for Mali (RPM) party and is considered a staunch ally of President Keita.

The Central Mali native has a degree in mathematics and physics and started out as a teacher, then worked for the German aid agency GIZ, before climbing the party ranks. Timbine was a vice president of the last parliament, having risen from being a local councillor and gaining a reputation among his admirers as a straight-talker -- or among his detractors, as uncouth.

President Keita’s son, who is an MP, was a strong backer of his bid for president of the parliament. According to Timbine’s aides, as an ethnic Dogon, the parliament’s president could become active in de-escalating the conflict in volatile Central Mali, where many Dogon armed groups operate.