She demanded “the departure of military rule”… Why did the Mauritanian opposition escalate its demands?


Nouakchott – “We refuse” and “we demand a re-election” and “the departure of the military rule”. Under these and other slogans, the Mauritanian opposition organized yesterday evening, Saturday, a mass rally in the center of the capital, Nouakchott, in rejection of the results of the legislative, regional and municipal elections that took place on May 13 and 27. .

The recent elections sparked widespread controversy, and in several press conferences and a mass march following the results, the opposition demanded a re-election. Opposition and pro-government parties talked about “fraud and violations that marred the process,” and submitted dozens of appeals, but the Constitutional Council rejected all of them, with few exceptions that do not affect.

The parties supporting the Mauritanian president won 84.6% of the seats in parliament, or 149 seats out of 176, including 107 seats for the ruling Justice Party, with a rate of 60.79%, while the opposition won 27 seats, with a rate of 15.34%.

opposition path
The opposition march raised slogans calling for a re-election and protesting the deterioration of the economy (Al-Jazeera)

The second march

The masses and leaders of opposition parties that failed to enter Parliament participated in the march, such as the “Union of Progressive Forces” and the “Progressive People’s Alliance”, in addition to the “National Rally for Reform and Development” party, which won 10 seats, and the “Al-Sawab” party, which won 5 seats, and ” Republican Front,” which won 7 seats.

In the only official speech of the opposition in the march, the head of the “Progressive People’s Alliance” party, Masoud Ould Belkhair, said that they are calling for a re-election and reject what he described as a “coup against democracy,” adding that it is impossible to imagine a country without democracy, opposition and political parties.

The representative of the opposition “Tawasul” party, Sadaf Adda, said that this march came in response to “the great farce called the May 2023 benefits,” adding that “it is no secret that these elections were a farce aimed at killing the hope of the Mauritanian people on the democratic rotation and the opposition.” She took part of her right and is still demanding the rest until she gets it in full.

In a statement to Al-Jazeera Net on the sidelines of the march, Ould Adda said, “For these reasons, this march came today after it was postponed due to the recent security events in the country, and today it raises slogans against fraud and injustice of all kinds.”

opposition path
Several parties participated in the march, such as the “Union of Forces for Progress” and the “National Rally for Reform and Development” (Al-Jazeera).

Raising the ceiling of demands

At the same pace with which the demonstrators rejected the election results and demanded a rerun, other demands were also strongly present in the slogans of the protesters, such as: security, immigration, high prices, injustice, as well as marginalization.

The head of the “Progressive People’s Alliance” party, Massoud Ould Belkhair, said in the march’s speech that the opposition “is dissatisfied with the economic reality in the country and the high prices in a country full of goods and wealth, but it is going badly.”

Ould Belkhir denounced the state’s silence on the recent unprecedented migration of Mauritanian youth, stressing that this phenomenon is “evidence of the absence of the state’s development and economic policies in the country,” as he described it.

Ould Belkhair disavowed what he called “the government’s actions that are not in the interest of the citizens in the countryside who suffer from thirst, disease and poor education.”

He also denounced what he described as “repeated assassinations in police commissions”, calling on the state to stand with citizens against these actions, and warning that the opposition parties were not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation regarding the death of young Omar Job, and that they stand with his family, and demand an audit and re-investigation of his assassination. .

Young Omar Job died – two weeks ago – after his arrest by the police, and while the prosecution said that the death was due to a heart attack, his family said that “the circumstances and circumstances of his death are still dark,” and demanded the formation of an independent investigation committee to look into the circumstances of the case that sparked protests and clashes with the police.

The masses of the march to Al Jazeera Net
The protesters raised slogans reflecting their dissatisfaction with security, immigration, high prices and injustice (Al-Jazeera)

criticism of the opposition

The traditional opposition faces widespread criticism in the Mauritanian street and on social media, due to its “silence and truce with the regime over the past years, its inaction, and its abandonment of the people’s demands despite their suffering from high prices, lack of security, and the spread of the phenomenon of migration,” as some critics and activists put it on social media.

During the passage of the opposition march in the central market in the capital, Nouakchott, one of the street vendors shouted at the demonstrators, saying, “This is not the opposition, it only speaks when it is excluded,” while others were mocking their repeated slogans.

The popularity of the traditional opposition had witnessed a significant decline as a result of the recent elections, as 3 of its parties failed in the race to enter parliament for the first time since the declaration of political pluralism in the country, and the representation of some others declined.

However, the opposition refuses to recognize the results of the elections, and political parties from the opposition and the loyalists talk about “widespread fraud.” However, the Independent National Elections Commission (the supervising body) talks about “violations” confirming that they “do not affect the credibility of the electoral process.”


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She demanded “the departure of military rule”… Why did the Mauritanian opposition escalate its demands?

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