On September 1, around 1.4 million people will vote in legislative and municipal elections in Mauritania. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) has confirmed that the official campaign period will take place from Friday, August 17, through Thursday, August 30. Over 100 political parties have registered candidates for the upcoming vote, including the National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU), the main opposition party. An increase in political rallies and events are expected to take place in the coming weeks, particularly in the capital Nouakchott. A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are expected near potential rallies; clashes between security forces and demonstrators cannot be ruled out.
Demonstrations are also possible in Nouakchott after an anti-slavery activist was arrested in the capital on August 7. Biram Ould Dah, the leader of the Initiative for the Resurgence of Abolitionism (IRA) was arrested in his home and taken to a local police station. According to initial reports, he was asked questions over a complaint filed by a journalist, who claimed Dah incited his supporters to harm him. Dah is one of the IRA’s candidates in the parliamentary elections.
In April, the FNDU announced that it would participate in the general elections. The party was critical of the government of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz for creating the CENI without including any members of the political opposition. It has boycotted several votes in Mauritania in the past few years, including legislative elections in 2013 and a constitutional referendum in August 2017, backed by Abdel Aziz, which abolished the senate in favor of regional councils, among other reforms.
Individuals in Mauritania are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
In general, individuals present in Mauritania should remain vigilant due to various security concerns. Due to the threat of kidnapping, it is critical that foreigners remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc.
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