4 June 2009

Mauritania: Parties Agree on Interim Govt, Election Date

Mauritanian parties have agreed to form a transitional government to replace the military regime installed in a coup last year, pending elections to be held in July.

The Dakar newspaper, Le Soleil, reports that Senegal’s mediation in Mauritania has ended successfully despite talks lasting for the unusually long period of six days.

The closed-door talks, presided over by Senegalese foreign  affairs minister Sheikh Tidjane Gadio, were sanctioned by the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union, the organization of Francophone nations and the United Nations.

In essence, the parties agreed that elections slated for Saturday, June 6, will be postponed. The first round of polling will take place on July 18 and, if necessary, the second round on August 2.

In the meantime, a transitional government will govern the country until the elections. This must take the form of a "consultative transition".

There were diverse views on the type of transitional administration to be adopted. Some believed that it should be derived from the existing constitutional frame work, that is the national assembly and the senate. Others, especially the opposition, believed that it should rather be a crisis management structure.

It was resolved that the ministries of interior, finance and communications will go to the opposition while the post of prime minister will go to the government.

The agreement has been hailed as the beginning of a new democracy on Mauritania. It is hoped that the democratic process which first began in 2006 will be continued in July and will this time prove more success.

Translated from the original French by Michael Tantoh.

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