7 August 2013

Mauritania Sets Election Date

Photo: Manon Riviere/IRIN
A protest in Mauritania (file photo).

Nouakchott — Mauritania will hold national legislative and municipal elections on October 12th, Communications Minister Mohamed Yahya Ould Hormah announced in Nouakchott.

Advanced technology, including biometric voter registration, would be deployed to ensure the elections were "transparent and credible", the minister said at a Nouakchott press conference on Saturday (August 3rd).

But the 13-party Co-ordination of Democratic Opposition (COD) has already threatened to boycott the election. On Sunday, the COD said that the election was "a provocation of the Mauritanian people".

The government was "now unilaterally deciding...to hold [the election] without making the necessary material preparations or ensuring political consensus; something which involves an exclusion of the entire opposition", the COD said in a statement.

"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," the COD added.

The same thing applies to the country's expatriate communities overseas, as most of them are still not registered, the COD added.

Meanwhile, Mauritania's ruling Union for the Republic has accused the opposition coalition of blocking the "national democratic project", AFP reported.

The Mauritanian street, especially young people, have shown great interest in these political tensions, given that the result of next election will determine the policies for development, employment and management of public affairs.

"There is no doubt that these political tensions influence youth because they are an integral part of society," young activist and politician Mohamed Ould Abeid told Magharebia.

"The more stable the boat is, the more positive impact on youths there is, as they suffer from unemployment and exclusion because of politicians' reactionary views," he said.

The election will enable "young political parties to take part and change the reality, which certain parties have been dominating for 3 decades", Ould Abeid added.

"Elections will change the view of some parties that think they can always dominate, especially as young people have become fed up with the promises of opposition and majority that only think about their interests and not those of young people," he said.

Another young political observer, journalist Mohamed Yanjah, criticised the tensions between the opposition and pro-government parties as a waste of time and effort.

"I call for putting the interest of the country above all narrow considerations and personal interests," he said.

"The focus must be on the issues that directly affect young people's lives to provide jobs for them," he added.

But that may take a while, artist Khalid Moulay Idriss argued. For decades, politicians have manipulated young people, he said.

"Confidence hasn't been given to the young yet," he added.

Election campaigns begin September 27th and run until October 10th.

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