MAURITANIA: ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM KICKS OFF

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania’s electoral campaign for constitutional referendum kicks off electoral campaign for the Aug 5 constitutional referendum begins from the Mellah Stadium (a popular district of Nouakchott), the African Press Agency (APA) reported.

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz himself kicked off the campaign in the presence of tens of thousands of people.

The referendum concerns amendments to the constitution proposed by the government and fiercely rejected by the opposition coalition, the National Forum for Democracy and Unity, trade unions and civil society organizations.

The amendments include the abolition of the indirectly-elected Senate and its replacement with regional councils, changing the national flag by adding a red band at the top and bottom to represent people who fought against the French colonial regime, as well as modifying the national anthem.

They would also see the High Court of Justice abolished and modify the electoral system to include proportional representation.

A proposal to allow President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to run for a third term was dropped after protests in Nouadhibou.

Although 141 of the 147 members of the National Assembly voted in favour of the changes, they were rejected by the Senate in March 2017, with 33 of its 56 members voting against, including 24 members of the ruling Union for the Republic.

Voters will be asked whether they approve of proposed amendments to the constitution.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK