Ruling party MP elected speaker of Mauritanian assembly

Mohamed Bakay

NOUAKCHOTT (AA) – Mauritania's ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) candidate Sheikh Ould Ahmed Ould Bayeh won Monday the position of speaker of National Assembly (parliament).

Ben Bayeh won 118 votes to 27 votes for opposition candidate Sufi Ould Shebani.

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

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.