Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Mauritania: Administrative and technical problems

Communications Minister Ould Hormah told the press that the government expected a strong turnout and that the elections would use advanced technology. He was specifically referring to biometric voter registration which, he said, would be deployed to ensure the elections were "transparent and credible".

The extent of the government's administrative and technological preparedness for the elections is not at all clear. While the government has, for some time, been making bland statements about the electoral role and biometric registration being at an advanced stage, there is no sign of hard evidence to back up the claim. Indeed, the COD certainly believes otherwise. It issued a statement on Sunday 4 August saying, “Most of the Mauritanian people haven't received identification cards, while the rest haven't been registered yet and will not be registered anytime soon because the necessary circumstances aren't available.”

There are still two months before the election and, as the recent election in neighbouring Mali has shown, a lot can be done in the last few weeks. But that could be difficult to achieve in Mauritania, largely because it will not have the same level of help from Western countries, notably from France and the UN.

If there are administrative and voter registration problems, then the situation would appear to be even worse among Mauritanian expatriate communities abroad, especially in France where the signs are that the majority are still not registered.

For more news and expert analysis about Mauritania, please see Mauritania Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

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