Mauritania dissolves 76 political parties for ‘being too small’

The Mauritanian government has sidelined dozens of political parties from upcoming presidential elections, saying the groups are too small to take part.

An interior ministry decree seen by AFP on Wednesday orders the “dissolution” of all parties which did not take part in municipal elections in 2013 and 2018, or which took part and failed to muster more than one per cent of the vote in the first round of voting.

A 2012 law provides financial support for electoral campaigns that is proportionate to a party’s public support.

It entitles the authorities to wind up groups that are deemed unrepresentative — parties that fail to meet the one-per cent threshold or take part in two consecutive municipal elections.

Parties that are dissolved can reform.

The new order applies to 76 parties, leaving 28 in the field, including the country’s main political groups.

The presidential elections in the conservative Saharan state are scheduled to take place by June 30, at a date that has yet to be set.

The ruling party, the Union for the Republic chose Defence Minister Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mohamed Ahmed as its candidate to succeed President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, whose second and final term in office is coming to an end.

Among opposition figures, legislator and anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Dah Abeid has already said he will run.

However, negotiations among other opposition groups to agree on a joint candidate are currently at an impasse, given “ideological divergences,” an opposition leader, Moussa Fall, said.

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