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Mauritanian Elections: Surprises in the capital Governments policies “deeply unpopular”

By Sheikh Bekaye
Nouakchott

Opposition parties made considerable gains
in the capital Nouakchott, winning six out of the nine
municipalities. But overall, the ruling party took 64 seats in the
81-seat National Assembly.

The opposition managed only eleven,
while six other parliamentary seats went to small parties backing
the president.

The opposition has given no official reaction yet
to President Ould Taya’s statement that he will not form a
coalition government with them.
But while their leaders told me
that they were not keen to join the government either.

Observers here have described the elections as free and fair for
the first time since multi-party politics were introduced a decade
ago.

Yesterday, the president told journalists that the
transparency of the poll was a “great victory” for the country.

The opposition had boycotted previous polls, saying they were
fraudulent and designed to keep the government in power.

Analysts say the opposition did well in the capital because the
government’s policies are deeply unpopular, while the new
political forces were advocating change, and above all, the
decision of the opposition parties to unite after their defeat in
the first round.

BBC – Focus on Africa 27/10/2001

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