On Wednesday, April 17, Mauritanian officials announced that the first round in the country's upcoming presidential elections will be held on Saturday, June 22. If necessary, a runoff vote will take place on Saturday, July 6. Several major figures have declared their candidacy following incumbent President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz's decision to step down at the conclusion of his second term and not stand for election.
Political protests and associated clashes between demonstrators and security forces are not uncommon in Mauritania, and cannot be ruled out through the June 22 election date.
Mauritania held legislative, regional, and municipal elections without incident on September 15, 2018. The incumbent Union for the Republic (UPR) party won a majority in the National Assembly, all 13 regional councils, and 169 of 219 municipal governments.
Despite widespread speculation that he might defy the constitution to seek a third term, incumbent President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has declared his intention to step down at the conclusion of his second term in 2019. Abdel Aziz previously led a 2008 coup that ousted Sidi Ould Cheikh Abadallahi from the presidency and was a leading figure in a 2005 coup that ousted Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya from the presidency. Abdel Aziz won the 2014 presidential elections without incident. Since the 2014 elections, Abdel Aziz has succeeded in annulling Mauritania's Senate, replacing it with regional councils.
Foremost among the current candidates are former defense minister Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mohamed Ahmed, head of the 2005-2007 transitional government Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, anti-slavery campaigner Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, and opposition stalwart Mohamed Ould Moloud. Candidates have until May 8 to declare their intentions to run.
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.
Copyright and Disclaimer