Mauritania’s Long Road to Democracy
Last week, the National Democratic Institute released an informative Bulletin providing comprehensive coverage of Mauritania’s upcoming elections and the political dynamics behind the country’s turbulent road to democracy. An upheaval of Mauritania’s first elected government last August led to the formation of a national unity government in June, which will hold elections this Saturday and ensure transparency. The Bulletin reports that polling in Mauritania shows the top four candidates pitted against each other in a tight race.
The power sharing agreement and elections have been heralded as a step toward democratic reform in a country where elections are a new fixture in the political establishment. In fact the African Union lifted sanctions on Mauritania this month to support “restoring democratic rule.”
Continuing its biographical coverage of Mauritania’s presidential candidates, Kal at the Moor Next Door today focuses on Ould Abdel Aziz, who embodies an unique political persona amongst his rivals. His platform is based on populism and anti-Zionist ideology underpinned by patronage. Attempting to undermine Islamists, he has overtly courted Iran and Libya and lead efforts to dismantle relations with Israel. Kal sees Aziz’s platform as suggesting that the elections could have implications for Mauritania in its relations with the United States.