Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Mauritania: Election developments

Mauritania continues its roller-coaster ride towards legislative and municipal elections on 23 November, with still no certainty as to whether they will be held or postponed. The first talks in four years between the government and 11-party Co-ordination of Democratic Opposition (COD) began on Monday 30 September but broke up after two days.

Speaking shortly after the break-up, the COD's (rotating) president, Mohamed Ould Mouloud (above), said the two sides disagreed on a number of issues, including the suggestion by the ruling party that the polls be postponed by 15 days, and the opposition's demand that the ruling party's unilateral agenda be suspended in a bid to reach a political agreement to create an environment in which to organise free, democratic and transparent elections. During the two days of talks, the parties also discussed the organisation and monitoring of the polls as well as the impartiality of the State's institutions in the electoral process.
The fundamental sticking point between the two was that the COD wanted the polls postponed until April 2014 to allow time to prepare a full voter census and electoral role. The COD also wanted guarantees of the independence of the CENI electoral commission.
On Thursday 3 October, the communications minister said there was a possibility that talks with the opposition might resume. However, on the following day, the COD announced that 10 of its 11 member parties had decided to boycott the elections, with only the Tawassoul party agreeing to participate.
For more news and expert analysis about Mauritania, please see Mauritania Politics & Security.
© 2013 Menas Associates

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