Mauritania’s electoral commission says candidates from an unprecedented 100 political parties have submitted their files to participate in the country’s legislative and municipal elections on September 1.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) confirmed the lists ahead of campaigning that officially begins on August 17. Mauritania also confirms 1.4 million voters are registered to participate, with the country’s Union for the Republic ruling party claiming a million supporters from among them.
The National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU), established as the country’s main opposition party despite the crowded field, agreed in April to participate in this year’s election after boycotting the polls in the past in opposition to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
FNDU leader Mohamed Ould Moloud has said his party refuses to accept a role on the margins as Mauritania faces political shifts and the anticipated end of the Abdel Aziz tenure. Whether he would continue on was a key issue for Mauritanians at this time last year, when the president pushed a referendum to dissolve the country’s senate that was bitterly opposed by FNDU.
He also floated other provisions they warned would potentially keep him in power beyond the end of his second term in 2019. Analysts now say it’s unlikely Abdel Aziz will stay, but there’s no clarity on a successor within his party.
The political opposition also has opposed the current makeup of the 11-member CENI board, and questioned the commission’s capacity to ensure credible elections.