Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz came to power in a coup in 2008 and was elected in 2009. He was elected again in 2014 for a second five-year term. Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP
CAIRO - 19 January 2018: “Mauritania’s legislative and local elections will take place as scheduled in 2018 with no intention for postponement,” said Minister of Culture and Handicrafts and spokesperson for the Mauritanian Government, Mohamed Lemine Ould Cheikh.
In a press conference on Thursday, Ould Cheikh stressed that the Mauritanian legislative and local municipal elections will be held within months, stressing that “betting on the American or the French role in the Mauritanian domestic affairs is a losing case.”
In 2016, a national dialogue was held between the ruling regime and the opposition forces and constitutional amendments were carried out, despite the opposition’s boycott, as a result of the national dialogue.
Ould Cheikh stressed that the election will be available for all factions to participate, in reference to the National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU), a collective of opposition groups which had doubted the integrity of the upcoming elections.
In response to statements made by the French Ambassador to Mauritania in which he talked about the upcoming elections, Ould Cheikh criticized those statements and accused France of interfering into Mauritania’s domestic affairs.
Last November, a new national flag for Mauritania appeared officially for the first time during the country’s Independence Day’s ceremony, following a constitutional referendum.
“Two red bands were added to the old green-and-yellow standard, meant to signify the blood spilled in the fight for freedom from France, its colonial master, but the adoption of the design has been fraught with dramatic twists,” AFP reported on November 28.
Following the recent constitutional amendments which took place in August 2017, Mauritania approved a new national flag and a new national anthem and also abolished the senate.
The new national flag was rejected by many opposition forces, most notably the FNDU which described it as a “"illegitimate child of the rape of the constitution.”