* Mali trying to resolve political crisis since March coup
* Army chooses five out of new 31-member government
* ECOWAS pushing for troops to retake rebel-held north
By Tiemoko Diallo
BAMAKO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traore approved a new transitional government on Monday, to move the West African country closer to constitutional order after a military coup in March.
The 31-member government will replace a transitional authority that was crippled by political infighting, and failed make progress in setting elections.
“The president of the republic, after receiving proposals from the prime minister, decrees the list of members of government,” said a presidential statement read over state radio.
The statement said the holders of five posts in the new transitional government had been chosen by the military leadership. It said at least four members of the previous transitional authority, including the interior minister charged with organising elections, remained unchanged.
Once considered a democratic success story in a long-troubled region, Mali has been split in two since a March 22 coup paved the way for a military advance by northern separatists and al Qaeda-linked Islamists.
West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which is pushing for the deployment of a 3,000-strong intervention force in Mali, had called on Traore to ensure the formation of a government that better represents Mali’s different interests.
While the coup was condemned abroad, the reaction in cotton and gold producing Mali was mixed, with some praising the removal of a political class they said was corrupt.
Traore had reappointed his prime minister, Cheick Modibo Diarra, on Aug. 12 and asked him to form a new government within 72 hours.