Mauritania Holds Legislative Elections on Saturday

Mauritania Holds MP Elections on Saturday (News Central TV)

On Saturday, voters in the West African nation of Mauritania go to the polls for legislative and local elections that will be a crucial litmus test before the country’s presidential elections the following year.

On May 13, Mauritanians will elect 238 municipal councils, 15 regional councils, and 176 members of the parliament.

The National Assembly’s 176 seats, or fifty percent of them, will be decided in a second round on May 27.

In the first referendum held in the vast, arid nation of West Africa since President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani assumed office in 2019, 25 parties are vying for the support of about 1.8 million voters.

The 176 members of parliament, 15 regional councils, and 238 local councils are up for election in Mauritius.

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The National Assembly’s 176 seats, or fifty percent of them, will be decided in a second round on May 27.

The presidential party El Insaf is widely favoured to win, especially in rural areas, as it is the only party to field candidates in every constituency.

“El Insaf will secure a majority in all elections and strengthen Ghazouani’s chances of being re-elected in 2024,” said Adam Hilelly, an analyst with 14 North Strategies, a U.S. consultancy specializing in Africa.

Ghazouani, 66, is a general considered one of the main architects of Mauritania’s success against insurgency, in his former role as army chief.

Although he hasn’t said whether he will seek reelection as president for a second term, many in Mauritania believe that he will.

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The major opposition party in the outgoing parliament, Tewassoul, and the Arab nationalist Sawab are El Insaf’s main rivals.

The latter is affiliated with Biram Dah Abeid, an anti-slavery campaigner and the candidate whose party was barred from running in the previous presidential election. Between 40 and 70 percent of the nation is represented on the lists of those two parties.

The opposition parties won’t threaten the ruling party, which held a strong majority in the previous parliament, as they are absent from a large portion of the constituencies.

Since the advent of multiparty politics in 1991, Mauritanian presidents have consistently had a solid parliamentary majority at their disposal.

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Since April 27, there has been a flurry of campaigning, with the major parties erecting sizable tents in the capital Nouakchott.

Evening events such as aggressive speeches, musical performances, and traditional dances bring them to life.

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