MAURITANIA
Parliamentary Chamber: Al Jamiya-Al-Wataniya

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1996

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Chamber:
  Al Jamiya-Al-Wataniya


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  11 October 1996
18 October 1996


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the National Assembly following the premature dissolution of this body. General elections had previously been held in March 1992.


Background and outcome of elections:

  The election dates were set on 27 August 1996. The poll was the first for the National Assembly that was truly pluralist as opposition parties had boycotted the previous one of March 1992, thus allowing the ruling Democratic and Social Republican Party (PRDS) to go unrivalled.

In 1996, a total of 21 groups and independents vied for the 79 seats at stake. The opposition, however, was divided and could not agree on common candidatures. This spelled defeat, as the PRDS won 61 of the 63 contests decided in the first round, the two others going to its ally the Rally for Democracy and Unity (RDU) and an independent. The second round of voting was boycotted by the rival Union of Democratic Forces (UFD) party as the PRDS picked up nine more seats. According to final results published by the Interior Ministry on 19 October, the opposition as a whole captured but one seat, it being secured by the Action for Change (AC) group; seven independents, who were expected to join the PRDS ranks subsequently, also met with success. For the first time, a woman was elected to the Assembly. Voter turnout was generally low nation-wide, with some 70% of the electorate abstaining in the capital Nouakchott.

The one-sided parliamentary outcome was regarded as strengthening the hand of President of the Republic Maaouya Ould Taya, who is to face re-election in January 1997. On 24 October, the composition of the reshuffled Council of Ministers was announced; it continues to be headed by Prime Minister Cheikh El Avia ould Mohamed Khouna.

STATISTICS

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Democratic and Social Republican Party (PRDS) 70
Rally for Democracy and Unity (RDU) 1
Action for Change (AC) 1
Independents 7

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 78
Women: 1


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Copyright 1996 Inter-Parliamentary Union