Political situation Much need for action

For decades, Mauritania was marked by dictatorship, political upheavals and military coups. In 2005, a democratisation process was launched.

Boat builder in R'Gueiba, Banc d'Arguin National Park, Mauritania

Boat builder in R'Gueiba, Banc d'Arguin National Park, Mauritania

Boat builder in R'Gueiba, Banc d'Arguin National Park, Mauritania

The presidential elections in 2019 were won by Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani – the candidate who had the support of the governing party UPR (Union pour la République).

Parliamentary and local government elections and elections for the newly established regional councils had been held in 2018. While the majority of the opposition parties had boycotted the parliamentary and local elections in 2013, almost all parties ran for election in 2018. The governing party UPR won the majority of the seats on all political levels. Alongside the UPR, the Islamist opposition party Tawassoul was especially successful.

Ethnic discrimination

For a long time there was discrimination by the politically dominant Moorish people against those termed “Afro-Mauritanians”. This led to ethnic tensions. When they last escalated in 1989, tens of thousands of Afro-Mauritanians were forced to flee to Senegal and Mali. Several thousand people lost their lives.

Since the democratisation process was launched in 2005, the situation has become calmer. And yet, large sections of the Afro-Mauritanian population still have poorer access to education and social protection. The progressive “Arabisation” of the country is another recurrent source of conflict and protests. The pogroms of 1989/90 are a taboo topic and have never been addressed, neither politically nor judicially, nor by society at large.


As at: 31/03/2021