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Mauritanian senate abolition will be key battleground

Friday, May 12, 2017

Subject

Senate abolition moves.

Significance

Faced with the senate’s rejection on March 18 of proposed constitutional reforms that would scrap the senate, the High Court of Justice and the High Islamic Council and change the national flag, President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz has decided to press ahead with his reforms by a different route. He called a referendum for July 15 to authorise the plan, ignoring expert legal advice that even if the proposals secure direct popular endorsement, they would still require senate and national assembly approval.

Impacts

  • The constitutional changes will give Abdelaziz even greater freedom of manoeuvre.
  • However, they could also further encourage the opposition to unite.
  • Without an obvious successor, suspicions that Abdelaziz intends to stay on after 2019 will rise.
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