Will the new Mauritanian president be autonomous? | Africa | -

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After Saturday's election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) confirmed the victory of Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. He won 52.01% of the vote despite opposition protests. But already, until these results are validated by the Constitutional Council, part of the opinion questions the margin of maneuver that the dolphin will have vis-à-vis the outgoing president.

These questions are justified because the one who is still Minister of Defense of Mauritania is a long-time companion of outgoing President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Aged 62, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani took part in two coups, in 2005 and 2008, alongside the outgoing president.

Given these close relations, the new president will not be able to get rid of his mentor according to Lô Gourmo Abdoul, public law professor at the University of Le Havre in France and from Mauritania. "It will be at least initially very complicated and very difficult to get rid of the duty of recognition", believes there. "These are countries where the state apparatus is very weak and therefore, the loyalty of the administration is not automatic Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (the outgoing president, editor's note) still has control levers"he explains.

Reality of ground

Other experts also argue that Mohamed Ould Ghazouani – once faced with realities on the ground – will want to change his strategy. "I think he will break away from Ould Abdel Aziz's lap, and I think he will create a surprise in the framework of the management of the State." Ould Abdel Aziz will no longer determine the choice. of El-Ghazouani but that will probably be the political environment of the opposition, which has a new force, which will push it, rather than just govern on the basis of its relations with Ould Abdel Aziz "says Ely Mustapha, Mauritanian political analyst.


This presidential election must mark the first alternation between two presidents elected in this Sahelian country accustomed to military coups from 1978 to 2008. It is the one of 2008 that brought to power Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, before his election in 2009. Moreover, if the Constitutional Council validates the results of the Electoral Commission, the new president will have several challenges to overcome. It will first of all have to appease the political climate marked by the suspicions of fraud during this presidential election.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani will then have to try to solve the real issues of the country: racism, corruption and slavery. The Mauritanian society is marked by persistent disparities between Arab-Berber communities, Haratine (descendants of Arab-Berber masters, whose culture they share) and Afro-Mauritanian, generally of mother tongue of sub-Saharan ethnic groups.

Finally, the new president must preserve the hard-won stability of the country, ensure economic development and uphold and promote human rights. Projects that were ignored by Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the outgoing president.

Call for calm

Anti-slavery activist and Mauritanian MP Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, who came in second according to provisional results of the electoral commission, on Monday (June 24th) urged his supporters to refrain from any violence, denouncing "Provocation" power.

"I call all Mauritanians, especially those who follow me, to exercise restraint and respect the law and tranquility, as well as the safety of people and property," said Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid at a press conference.

Sunday night, the four opponents in the running rejected the provisional results granting the victory in the first round to the candidate of power, the former general Mohamed Cheikh El-Ghazouani. However, they announced their intention to challenge them by all legal means and to demonstrate peacefully to obtain satisfaction.

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