Mauritania and the Presidential Elections

With the Presidential Elections on the horizon, Mauritanians are anticipating what the days hold for them. A wide spectrum of the opposition is planning to snub [en] the ballot penciled for June 21. In that respect, the National Forum for Democracy and Unity – FNDU  (a coalition of 17 opposition parties and groups) announced [en] its refusal to take part in the elections, slamming the lack of  any agreement over it and of integrity. The same held true for  Progressive Popular Alliance (PPA) [ar]. All in all, there are 5 candidates [ar], and ironically, all of them, without exception, are close to the regime!

Mauritanian bloggers and netizens also had a say on the polls. Massive campaigns urged people to boycott it.  #انتخبوا_الحفار or “vote for the digger” was among the most trending hashtags in the Mauritanian blogosphere.  Digger refers satirically to President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz who claimed in a TV interview that he only possesses a digger, which he uses to help the poor for free. This comes after the outgoing head of state faced accusations from the opposition of concluding fishy affairs and becoming one the richest men in Africa by robbing the wealth of the Mauritanian State. 

تصميم ساخر من ترشح الرئيس الموريتاني

 A caricature by Ahmed Vall Ahmed on his Facebook page which translates to “the Digger for President of Mauritania in 2014 – our strength lies in our diggings or excavations – With brother Abdel Aziz, digging is for free”

Abbass Braham writes about dwarfing the minimum threshold of democracy in Mauritania and how Ould Abdel Aziz succeeded in depriving it from any value. 

إنه الآن أمرٌ رسمي: نجح الجنرال عزيز وسياقه الاقتصادي-السياسي في مهمته التاريخية. قوّض الحد الأدنى من الديمقراطية عندنا. أليس تقويضاً للديمقراطية إقامة انتخابات رئاسية بلا تنافسية؟ أليس تقويضاً للديمقراطية أن تنتقل زعامة المعارضة من شخصيات تاريخية نضالية إلى ما دون ذلك بالنصف (على الأقل)؟ أليس تقزيماً للديمقراطية تحول النقاش السياسي من نقاش البرامج إلى نقاش الهوية والأشخاص؟ أليس تقزيماً للديمقراطية بزوغ، بل سيادة، القضايا الوهمية في التكفير والتسفيه والحركات “المجتمعية” الخاوية من أي برنامج سياسي.

It is now official: General Aziz and his politico-economic court in his historic mission. He undermined the minimum of threshold in our country. Isn't holding presidential election without any competition called undermining? Isn't the transfer of the  leadership of the opposition passes from historical and combative personalities to figures who barely possess half of these qualities (at least) called undermining? Isn't the transformation of political discussion from debating programs to arguing over identity and names called undermining? Isn't  the rise or the prevalence of fictive issues such as accusations of infidelity (unbelief) or discreditation, or “social” movements that are void from any political program called undermining?

El Hadj Brahim tweets:

class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”ar”>. #انتخبوا_الحفار اول تصميم شكرا رفيقة @lissnup

— Elhadj Brahim (@HDBrahim) أبريل 11, 2014

First Design for “Vote for the Digger”. Thank you Comrade @lissnup

Mohamed Abderrahim mocks those young people who try through a gibberish pretext to promote the regime and depict it as reformist:

يحاول ذلك الشاب “المثقف” أن يقنع نفسه قبلنا أنه على مسار صحيح، يحاول جاهدا أن يظهر وعيه بمختلف مكونات اللعبة، ينسى أو يتناسى أنه بيدق محدود الحركة وأن البيدق في بداية اللعبة هو الضحية وأن أفضل البيادق هو ذاك الذي تتخلى عنه الرقعة لكي تستعيد قطعة أعلى شأنا، يحاول ذلك الشاب الحلو الجميل أبو عيون جريئة أن يطلع الشمس على الجانب الذي كانت بالأمس القريب تشرق منه ويحاول أيضا أن يرينا فضائل الأعمال في ذلك الرجل الذي كان بالأمس نقيض الأمل وهو اليوم كل الأمل!

This young intellectual is trying to convince himself before convincing us that he is on the right track. He does his best to appear as knowledgeable of most of the game components. He forgets or pretends to, that he's a mere pawn limited in movement and that the pawn is the victim in the beginning of the game, and that the best of pawns is the one who is abandoned by the chessboard for a more valuable piece. This young handsome boy, with daring eyes, tries to make the sun rise from the same side it used to shine from in the near past. He also tries to show us the virtues of the actions of that man who was yesterday, the nemesis of hope but today represents all of it.

Mohamed El Amin Elvadel, blogs about being utterly disappointed by the Constitutional Council. He also speaks about the fraud in the recommendations granted to one of the presidential candidates and how the Constitutional Council accepted his falsified file.

لم أكن أنتظر خيرا من المجلس الدستوري بتشكيلته الحالية، ولكني لم أكن أتوقع بأن التزوير والتحايل على تزكيات العمد والمستشارين البلديين سيصل في ظل هذه التشكيلة الحالية للمجلس إلى ما وصل إليه.لم أكن أتوقع أن يصل الأمر إلى هذا الحد رغم أننا قد تعودنا في موريتانيا أن يكون أكثر الناس جرأة على انتهاك الدستور هم أولئك الذين يسهرون على حمايته، ففقهاء القانون الدستوري هم في العادة أول من يصدر بيانات التأييد والمساندة للانقلابات، والمجلس الدستوري هو نفسه الذي كان قد وصف انقلاب السادس من أغسطس بالحركة التصحيحية يوم تنصيب الرئيس الحالي، وسيعترف فيما بعد الرئيس نفسه، وفي لحظة “صفاء”، بأن ما حدث في السادس من أغسطس كان انقلابا عسكريا، وبأنه أي الرئيس  لم يكن رئيسا شرعيا من قبل انتخابات يوليو 2009.

I wasn't excepting anything good from the Constitutional Council in its current composition (structure) but i wasn't also expecting that fraud and tricking the mayors and municipal counselors recommendations will reach that extent within the current composition (structure) of the council.  I wasn't expecting things to get to that point despite us in Mauritanian, having gotten used to having those who violate the constitution in the most blatant way are those who watch over protecting it. The scholars of the constitutional law are usually the first to issues statements supporting and endorsing coups d'etat. The Constitutional Council  is the same council which described the August 6 pushover as a corrective movement, the day of the investiture of the current president. The president himself will admit later in a moment of “clarity” that what happened on August 6 was a coup and that he, i.e. the President wasn't a legitimate president prior to July 2009 elections


Presidential Elections in Mauritania come following a tug of war between the regime and the opposition. This year's elections come after the prevalence of popular protests and demands on the Mauritanian scene, and following parliamentary elections boycotted by the majority of Mauritanian opposition. The regime is also being accused of falsifying the results of these elections in its favor. They come after a failed attempt of dialogue initiated by the opposition towards the regime. Considering all this,  the opposition called its supporters to take up the streets on June 4, to say No to these elections. For its part, the regime, claims the opposition is afraid of the ballot, hence its attempts to derail the process. It also brags that the boycott isn't of big importance.

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