UPDATE 1-New Mali president names banker as first prime minister

Fri Sep 6, 2013 2:28am IST

BAMAKO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Mali's new president has named Oumar Tatam Ly, a senior official from West Africa's regional central bank, as his first prime minister, according to a statement read on state television on Thursday.

The nomination of Ly, a technocrat who rose through the ranks of the BCEAO central bank to become country director and then special advisor to the governor, is the first sign of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita sticking to a pledge to put technical competence ahead of party affiliation in government.

The announcement was made a day after Keita was sworn in, pledging to stamp out corruption and bring peace to Mali after a turbulent 18 months saw a coup and a rebellion plunge the gold exporter into crisis.

Keita secured a strong mandate to push through reforms after he won 78 percent of the Aug. 11 vote.

Mali was long praised for its stability while other West Africa states were embroiled in civil wars of post-election violence.

But last year's troubles, which led to France dispatching thousands of troops to fight al Qaeda-linked rebels, underscored the weakness of Mali's democracy, which was undermined by corruption, nepotism and the lack of real opposition.

A 12,600-strong United Nations peacekeeping mission is rolling out across the country.

Ly, 50, has several economics degrees from France and worked at the World Bank before joining the West African central bank.

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