Mauritania's newly-elected parliament holds 1st session

By Mohamed al-Bakay

NOUAKCHOTT (AA) – Mauritania’s newly-elected parliament convened its first session on Monday — following an earlier delay — to choose a new speaker for the assembly.

Sheikh Ould Bai, an MP for President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz’s ruling Union for the Republic, is widely expected to win Monday’s assembly vote.

Last week, opposition groups accused the ruling party of delaying the first session of parliament in violation of the national constitution.

Government spokesmen, for their part, answered the charge by saying the law does not set a deadline for convening the first session.

In parliamentary polls held last month, the Union for the Republic won 87 seats in the 157-member assembly.

The Islamic-oriented National Rally for Reform and Development came in second, clinching 14 seats in parliament, along with majorities in three influential local councils in capital Nouakchott.