Nouakchott — Mauritanian Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf presented his new government on Wednesday (February 12th).
All key ministers kept their posts in the new administration. The defence, interior, foreign, finance and justice portfolios remain intact. Meanwhile, eight ministers lost their positions while 11 others made their entrance into the fresh cabinet, which includes six women.
The day after his routine resignation earlier this month, the prime minister thanked "all those members of the government for the work they have accomplished, which is starting to bear fruit in all areas, whether it's to do with access to water, electricity, health or education services for the public as a whole".
According to analyst Mohamed Ould Mohamed Lemine, "Dr Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf's reappointment as head of government is seen as a well-earned reward for a winning team which shouldn't be replaced."
The new government comes after the country's ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) and its allies won 76 of the 147 seats in parliament last November and December.
"Looking at our country and the formation of a new government, Prime Minister Dr Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf has every chance of keeping his promise about ensuring broad representation within his team of the political forces making up the presidential majority and the fringe of the opposite party frequently referred to as the talking opposition," remarked analyst Sidi El Moctar Ahmed Taleb.
Mohamed Fall Oumeir, an editorial writer for La Tribune, said that "in the end, Dr Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf has been returned to power," adding, "He has promised a government with good skills and broad representation."
"Ould Mohamed Laghdaf's return to power was predictable; the prospect of the imminent presidential election did not give President Ould Abdel Aziz the room for manoeuvre necessary to allow him to change his plans in any fundamental way," the editorial writer continued.
In the words of Oumeir, the president chose to hold on to the man who stood beside him and steered "the country out of the crisis in July 2009 and in whom he has renewed his confidence. This has avoided making a choice between other hopefuls whose proximity could have upset the current plans."
There was a lukewarm reaction from the public. Ahmed Ould Sidi, a teacher, said, "This new government will bring nothing new. It's the same people who have been there for five years, and they haven't been able to solve the big problems faced by Mauritanians."
Mariam Diop, who works for a public company, spoke in much the same way: "I don't think this new team will do any better than its predecessor."
"We're just a few months away from the presidential elections, and the ministers will all be busy playing politics with the aim of getting President Ould Abdel Aziz re-elected," she stated.