Mauritania: Presidential Candidates Face The Challenge Of Sponsorship

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz

Mauritania has entered the race for the presidential election scheduled for June 2019. Four candidatures have already been declared in view of this crucial deadline. Now remains to pass the hurdle of sponsorship candidates.

Four candidates are already declared runners for next June’s presidential election. According to the chronological order of their nomination, it is Biram Dah ould Abeid, leader of the Initiative of the abolitionist movement (IRA), under the colors of a SAWAB alliance (Arab nationalist current) + RAG / mouvance antislavery. He returns to the charge after a first try in 2014.

Mohamed ould Sheikh Ahmed ould Ghazouani, retired general, former Chief of the General Staff of the armed forces, candidate of President Mohamed ould Abdel Aziz, the majority and even, it is said, the army that makes and defeats the state power in the country for nearly 41 years.

Sidi Mohamed ould Boubacar, independent candidate, supported by three opposition parties: the National Rally for Reform and Development (RNRD / Tawassoul, Islamist movement), HATEM and Al Mostqbal. He was Prime Minister twice, under the regime of Maaouya ould Sid’Ahmed Taya (1992/1995) and during the transition of the Military Council for Justice and Democracy (CMJD), led by the late Colonel Ely ould Mohamed Vall ( 2005/2007).

Mohamed ould Maouloud, leader of the Union of Forces for Progress (UFP). He is the candidate of an alliance called “Coalition of Democratic Forces for Change (CFCD) for the candidature of Mohamed Maouloud 2019 / Change of era”. It brings together the Union of Forces for Progress (UFP), the Rally for Democratic Forces (RFD) and the National Union for Democratic Change (UNAD).

Among the range of conditions that must be fulfilled in order to be privileged to be included in the list of persons eligible to apply for Mauritanian electors’ votes is the sponsorship of elected representatives at the level of the local assemblies.

This is what says the law

A brief inventory shows that Mauritania has a little more than 200 municipalities in which sit approximately 4 thousands of city councilors.

Article 5 of the organic law on the election of the President of the Republic states that “the candidacy for the presidency of the Republic is admissible only if it is sponsored by at least one hundred (100) councilors of which five ( 5) mayors. These councilors must belong to the majority of wilayas (regions). No elected representative can sponsor more than one application. Sponsorships are materialized by legalized acts. In any case, they can not be withdrawn after their deposit. Any candidate for the presidency of the Republic must deposit with the Treasury a bond of five million ouguiyas (5,000,000 UM). This deposit will be refunded only for the benefit of candidates having at least collected 2% of the votes cast in the first round of the presidential election “.

Serenity in the ranks

In the same vein, article 06 of the same law adds: “the name, the quality as well as the electoral and administrative constituencies of the elected officials who sponsored the candidatures for the presidency of the Republic are made public by the Constitutional Council the thirtieth at least five (35) days before the first ballot within the limit of the number required for the validation of applications. ”

Faced with a possible obstacle that could constitute the sponsorship of elected officials, the candidate of the majority, dubbed by the Union for the Republic (UPR), will unfold on velvet, thanks to the control of almost all elected officials at the level of municipal assemblies.

In this perspective, Mohamed ould Sid’Ahmed, member of the Standing Committee of the Union of Forces for Progress (UFP), national secretary, responsible for Nouakchott, reassured: “We have no problem to have the number of sponsorships required by law. Our party, out of any coalition, has 50 to 60 municipal councilors … Moreover, we already have sponsors outside the ranks of the opposition and we think that all candidates in the next presidential election should meet the condition of sponsorship. This is valid even for the candidatures which would be declared later, because such an orientation goes in the direction of the consolidation of the democratic system and in the interest of the country “.

In stark contrast to the position of the senior manager of the UFP, the correspondent of the weekly “Le Calame” in the region of Aioun (East), reports “the double game of the UPR in the sponsorship of candidates.”

The newspaper’s online news site reports that “for some time, there has been a vast campaign to raise the awareness of elected officials (municipal councilors and mayors) led by the UPR secretaries of the UPR to collect sponsors’ signatures for the benefit of the candidate Mohamed ould Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed ould Ghazouani and other postulants “.

The term “other applicants” means, in the sense of the newspaper, “puppet candidates”. These are jokers who run on behalf of the system and who could be called in certain circumstances, to validate the forthcoming presidential ballot at which the UPR candidates decided to play on the sponsorship card in order to eliminate a candidate who would threaten ex-General Ghazouani.