Mauritania's opposition in the “cloak” of power ahead of presidential elections

Nouakchott- Three decades ago, especially with the beginning of the democratic process in Mauritania and the allowing of political pluralism in 1991, the Mauritanian opposition formed a unified front for change that included various political movements. Leftist, Islamist, nationalist and human rights groups opposed then-President Moua Ould Sid Ahmed Taya.

At the time, Ahmed Ould Daddah (81 years old) was the most prominent opposition candidate to contest President Taya, and Messaoud Ould Belkhir (80 years old) was the most staunch opponent of the fighter and the president's policies.

From then on, the opposition began to rise, and for three decades it continued in fierce confrontation with successive regimes, which were held in thousands with respect to each election.

But this time it seems that the rivalry has started reducing. As presidential elections in the middle of this year approach, the ruling regime may not feel competitive, given the transition back to opposition parties since Mohamed Ould Sheikh el-Ghazouni came to power.

Recent times have seen the repeated withdrawal of prominent and former elected leaders from the Tawassul Party, which is taking over the leadership of the opposition establishment for the third consecutive time.

The recent parliamentary elections resulted in the clinical death of traditional opposition parties, who faced a phenomenon of withdrawal. But the intensity of this incident in recent times and especially among the opposition in “Tawasul” has raised a question mark about the future of the opposition under the present regime which is trying to win its favor and absorb it. Used to be. it.

gradual withdrawal

Although all sectors of the opposition were involved in sparking the comeback, Tawassul's share was the most tumultuous, perhaps because it is the most united party.

The wave of returns had begun during the era of former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, but the most notable of them was in 2019, before the election of the current Mauritanian president, when groups of the Mauritian opposition came out in support. of “National Consensus” candidates, the largest of which was the “Rashidoun” movement, which seceded from the “Tawasul” party. It was led by former Sheikh Omar al-Fat and several defecting party leaders.

But the Islamic-leaning party's biggest blow came in late 2023, when party founder and two-time former president Muhammad Jamil Mansoor decided to resign from the party over what he called “major imbalances”. And clarify the mistakes I have repeatedly pointed out and have not corrected.”

Shortly after the President's return, the Finance Secretary in the Executive Committee and former parliamentary representative of Tintan Province, Mohammed al-Mukhtar Ould Talib al-Nafi, announced his resignation, followed by the Secretary of State, who also announced his resignation. Legal Affairs, Dr. Sidi Ab Ali, and Chairman of the Youth Council, Othmane Foday Marika, and others.

Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Dr. Mohammed al-Amin Ould Shuaib, a member of the political bureau of the Tawassul party, said, “These withdrawals are not an exceptional case in the local political scene, as the ruling party had seen a wave.” There were withdrawals during nomination crises and others, and we also followed withdrawals from one party to another in many cases.

The reason behind the Ould Shuaib “political trip” is to some extent the policy pursued by the ruling regime at their various stations, their relentless efforts to control the political map and adjust it according to their agenda and influence all those who oppose them. We believe in continuous efforts to do so. them through various means. Additionally, the review process requires some of these clearances. Normal in position and inclination.

Jamil Mansoor F at the founding ceremony of the Social Networking Sites Movement for the Homeland
Gradual withdrawal from Tawassul Party after the return of former party chief Jameel Mansoor (Communication Site)

new stream

Months after his return from Tawassul, Mohamed Jamil Ould Mansour announced the establishment of the movement “For the Homeland”, a party project that includes diverse figures from different ideologies, regions and ethnicities. Ould Mansour confirmed that his movement has taken a position to support the President in the upcoming elections.

The movement created such a stir that some considered it an existential threat to the opposition, especially Tawassul. Despite the latter's claims that these withdrawals are personal and will not cause any harm to his party “which is built on an idea and the idea does not die,” the head of the Center for Maghreb Studies, Dr. Didi Ould Salek, suggested that ” This new movement aims to eliminate communication, not the opposition because it is already dead (…), or as if with this movement, the regime wants to eliminate communication, or create an entity that Wants something that absorbs its strength and momentum, or weakens it until it is weak.”

“The authority has always tempted hard-working opposition leaders and symbols to join the regime, and has left young bodies wandering without heads,” Ould Salek told Al Jazeera Net, which has emboldened both the elites and the people of Mauritania. It has weakened political life in the country, and discouraged society from supporting the opposition.”

As far as Dr. As for Mohammed Lamin Ould Shuaib, he says they are in “communication”, and in general the opposition is not fed up with any new political formation, and “we believe that the field of political action is wide enough for all “

He said on Al Jazeera Net that “A large percentage of the new movement's members are fundamentally supporters of the regime, and are activists in political structures (parties or initiatives) from the majority constituency, some of whom are from the ruling Justice Party, and Certainly there are important leaders of Tawasul Party among them, and all the leaders have stepped back, but what is surprising is that the communication only focuses on leaders, not on other leaders.

greed for power

Although opposition defectors flocking to loyalists is not a new thing, some loyalists believe that the primary reason for this is the political calmness that the current president has adopted since assuming power, which was not available in previous periods.

In various periods, starting from the era of Ould Taya, through Ould Abdel Aziz, the regime employed coercion to eliminate opponents.

Dr. Ould Salek explains the unity of those who turn away from authority for two reasons:

  • First, the style of military rule from the beginning of the distorted democracy of Old Taya to the present day, known as Paul's democracy, which continues to woo and eliminate and kill opposition leaders.
  • The second is that opposition parties are expelled as a result of their circumstances, the weakness of their instruments, their siege by the regime, the starvation of their members, and the weakness of their social incubator.

What horizon for the opposition?

Apart from the fact that it is already facing widespread criticism in the Mauritanian street due to its cease-fire with the regime in the past years, observers believe that after these specific withdrawals and the emerging formation The opposition will suffer losses in the upcoming elections due to movements that support the current regime.

But Dr. Ould Shuaib believes that “the new movement will not have much impact, since most of its members were basically the majority and voted for the current president.”

As far as Dr. As for Didi Ould Salek, she does not see any prospects for the opposition in the upcoming elections. “Due to its current situation and the frustration in political and social circles,” he believes that unless the mechanisms of governance and management of the political process in Mauritania change, there is no hope for a person who has not been nominated. The right to succeed has been lost due to the weakness of society and the control of power over it.

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