Mauritanian Defense Minister Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the majority candidate in the presidential election scheduled for June, left the government on Friday, a few days after the opposition gave up a single candidacy.
According to a decree relayed by the Mauritanian News Agency (AMI), and announcing a reshuffle in the government, Mohamed Ould Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed - known as "Ould Ghazouani", until then Minister of Defense and companion of always Head of State, Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz - is replaced by Yahya Ould Hademine, former Prime Minister. The new Minister of Defense has held the position of Minister Counselor to the Presidency.
In addition to the Ministry of Defense, the reshuffle concerns three portfolios: Equipment and Transport, National Education, and Hydraulics and Sanitation. No explanation has been given from an official source for this reshuffle, motivated according to analysts by the need for the candidate of the power to prepare his campaign, at the time when the opinion expects a bloom of applications after the failure of the opposition to unite.
In preparation for the presidential election due to take place next June, the one now former minister of defense had been chosen by the ruling party, the Union for the Republic (UPR), as President Aziz's dauphin. "We decided to give each party the freedom to choose their candidate, while continuing to coordinate our positions, especially in the event of a second round," Mohamed Ould Moloud, president of the Electoral Coalition, told reporters this week. Democratic Opposition (CEOD), which includes most of the so-called radical opposition parties.
The divided opposition
While the anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid, already candidate in 2014, announced his intention to introduce himself, the names of several other personalities of the opposition were evoked, but the interested parties have not yet declared themselves. Among them is the former head of the transitional government (2005-2007), Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar. Two opposition groups, the Rassemblement pour la democratie et un unit (RDU) and the Adil party, however, decided to support the candidate of power.
The RDU has just been disbanded with 75's other political parties, out of the country's one hundred because they were considered insufficiently representative, having failed to obtain at least 1% of the votes in the 2013 and 2018 municipal elections. This dissolution leaves to the National Assembly, elected in September 2018, a dozen deputies without label who, according to experts, can join the party of their choice among the 28 still existing.
Former general came to power by a coup in 2008, then elected in 2009 and reelected in 2014, Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz can not represent at the end of his second term ending in August.
This article appeared first on YOUNG AFRICA