Dioncounda Traoré is a Malian politician, who has been President of Mali in an interim capacity since April 2012.
Traoré was born in Kati. After studying abroad in the Soviet Union, at the University of Algiers, and at the University of Nice, he taught in Mali at the Teachers' College (ENSUP) from 1977 to 1980. He was then arrested for trade union activities and sent to Ménaka in northern Mali. Subsequently, he became director-general of the National School of Engineering. He participated in the struggle for democracy that culminated with the overthrow of President Moussa Traoré in March 1991.
He was a founding member of ADEMA, and at its constitutive congress, held on 25–26 May 1991, he was elected as its Second Vice-President.
Traoré was appointed Minister of the Civil Service, Labor, and the Moderization of Administration on 9 June 1992, in the first government under Alpha Oumar Konaré's presidency. He was then named Minister of State for Defense on 16 April 1993, holding that position until he became Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 25 October 1994. At ADEMA's first ordinary congress, held in September 1994, Traoré was elected as the First Vice-President of the party, while Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was elected as its President.
He was elected as a Deputy in the National Assembly from Nara in 1997 and resigned as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 24 August 1997 to take his seat. In the National Assembly, he became President of the ADEMA Parliamentary Group, and following the resignation of Keïta as ADEMA President in October 2000,Traoré was elected as ADEMA President at the party's first extraordinary congress, held on 25–28 November 2000. In the 2002 parliamentary election, he was defeated in Nara and lost his seat.
In the July 2007 parliamentary election, Traoré ran again at the head of an ADEMA list in Nara, where three seats were at stake. In the first round, his list won 39.59% of the vote, and in the second round it prevailed with 58.41% of the vote. When the new National Assembly held its first meeting on 3 September 2007, Traoré was elected as President of the National Assembly, receiving 111 votes against 31 for Mountaga Tall of the National Congress for Democratic Initiative (CNID), another member of the ADP.
Following the March 2012 military coup, which precipitated economic sanctions and a blockade by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against Mali, a deal, brokered in Burkina Faso by President Blaise Compaoré under the auspices of ECOWAS, was signed on 6 April 2012 that would see the head of the military junta, Captain Amadou Sanogo, cede power to Dioncounda Traoré to assume the presidency in an interim capacity until an election could be held.Traoré had left the country following the coup, but returned on 7 April.
Traoré was sworn in as President at a ceremony on 12 May 2012. He pledged to "wage a total and relentless war" on the Tuareg rebellion in Mali's north unless it relinquished its control of northern Malian cities and its declared state of Azawad.
On 21 May 2012, soldiers allowed a group of pro-coup demonstrators into Traoré's office in Bamako. The demonstrators, who had been carrying a mock coffin with Traoré's name written on it, attacked him, knocking him unconscious. He was brought to Point G Hospital but was not conscious when he was brought in, apparently suffering from a head injury. Three protesters were killed and others wounded when Traoré's security fired on the attackers.
After an examination showed no serious injury, Traoré was taken to a secure location. PM Cheick Modibo Diarra called for calm and an end to protest marches, stating that the attack was "not worthy of our country".On 23 May, it was announced that Traoré would travel to France for further health checks, reportedly including an examination of his pacemaker.