Campaigning kicks off in run-up to Mauritania polls

By Mohamed al-Bakay

NOUAKCHOTT (AA) – The official campaigning period kicked off Friday in advance of Mauritanian parliamentary and municipal polls slated for Sept. 1.

Several political parties held campaign rallies in different parts of the northwest African country, where they explained their respective electoral programs.

At a rally held by Mauritania’s ruling Union for the Republic Party, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz listed his many “achievements” as president.

Opposition figures, meanwhile, have expressed dissatisfaction over what they describe as the ruling party’s pervasive influence over government and state institutions at the expense of the country’s opposition.

At another campaign rally, Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Seyidi, head of the opposition National Rally for Reform and Development Party (“Tewassoul”) said opposition parties were taking part in the polls “despite the lack of transparency”.

The campaigning period will continue for the next two weeks, wrapping up on the eve of the Sept. 1 election, in which almost 100 political parties will vie for seats in the country’s parliament and on municipal councils.

For the first time, parties will also compete for seats in Mauritania’s 13 regional councils.

Some 1.4 million Mauritanians are registered to vote in the upcoming polls.