Mauritania. According to Countryaah.com, Mauritania population in 2020 is estimated at 4,649,669. The country’s president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz took office in January as president of the African Union. The presidency rotates between the member states and each chair is for one year.
In February, Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf filed his and the government’s resignation application, which is customary after a parliamentary election (one held in December 2013). However, he was already given the day after the assignment to form a new government. All the most important ministers were allowed to remain in their posts. However, Laghdaf was replaced as Prime Minister in August by Yahya Ould Hademine.
According to topb2bwebsites, the same month Mauritania formed the G5 Sahel organization together with Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad with the aim of strengthening cooperation on development and security. The headquarters of the organization will be located in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott.
In February, for the first time, a woman became mayor of Nouakchott. The post went to Maty Mint Hamady, an economist representing the UPR (Union for the Republic) government party and formerly a minister in charge of public service.
In June, presidential elections were held. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who came to power in 2008 through a bloody coup and won the 2009 presidential election, lacked serious opponents as the opposition chose to boycott what it termed a “pretense election”. With a 56.5% turnout, Abdel Aziz took a clear victory with 82% of the vote. According to Abbreviation Finder, MR stands for Mauritania in English. Click to see other meanings of this 2-letter acronym.
During the year, cooperation, both civilian and military, was deepened between Mauritania and neighboring Mali with the aim of increasing security, preventing the spread of ebola fever and facilitating people and goods to cross the border between countries.
In December, for the first time since independence in 1960, a person was sentenced to death for blasphemy. It is about a young man who questioned on the Internet some of the Prophet Muhammad’s decision.
Population, society and rights
The Moorish population and Arab-Berber descent represent about 70% of the Mauritanian population, while the other African groups, including fulbe, toucouleur, soninke, wolof and bambara make up 27%. Finally, there is a small minority of French people. The Moors are in turn divided into whites (bidan) of Arab-Berber origin and blacks (haratin, ‘liberated men’). In turn, the White Moors are divided into two classes: a more noble one, consisting of warriors (hassan) and religious (zwaya) and a second level, the zenagas, vassal shepherds. Society is characterized by a rigid caste system and hierarchical and tribal divisions within the Islamic context: zwaya and hassan are at the top of the hierarchical ladder, while haratins are at the lowest rungs.
In November 2013, parliamentary elections were held marked by accusations of fraud by the Islamist formations against the party-regime of Abdel Aziz. According to official data released by the Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante (Ceni), the Union Pour la République (Upr) confirmed itself as the majority party in the National Assembly with 75 seats, followed by the Islamists of Tewassoul with 17 seats. The consultations of November 2013 – the first votes since the coup in August 2008 – represented the dress rehearsal for the presidential elections of June 2014, which saw a clear affirmation of Abdel Aziz. Despite the almost plebiscitary vote (82% of the votes), the Mauritanian leader’s new mandate could be marked by some difficulties in economic matters (galloping unemployment, especially youth unemployment, which has reached almost 43%) and security (claims of Tuareg minorities and jihadist insurgency).
The urban population still represents the majority today (59%). On the religious level, almost the entire population is of the Sunni Muslim religion, with the exception of a small Christian-Catholic community. The Mauritanian Constitution defines the country as ‘an Islamic republic’ and Islam as the ‘state religion’. Finally, the legal system is based on French law and sharia law.