- Title: MAURITANIA: Mauritania junta refuses to set polls date
- Date: 28th August 2008
- Summary: VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF RFD PARTY HEADQUARTERS VARIOUS OF INTERIOR OF NEWS CONFERENCE BY NATIONAL FRONT PARTIES VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF TAWASSOUL PARTY HEADQUARTERS WITH PEOPLE LISTENING TO NEWS CONFERENCE ON MEGAPHONE
- Embargoed: 12th September 2008 13:00
- Location: Mauritania
- Country: Mauritania
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA2TXZ5QN2IK3URBSZJNLZGU6GV
- Story Text: Influential Mauritanian parliamentarians boycott military rulers' efforts to form a government, after the junta refuse to set a timetable for elections or guarantee that they will not stand themselves.
Mauritania's military rulers have refused to set a timetable for elections or guarantee they will not stand themselves, complicating their efforts to form a government, the main parliamentary party said on Tuesday (August 26).
Veteran opposition leader Ahmed Ould Daddah said the High State Council set up after an August 6 military coup had agreed to most of 35 conditions set by his Rally of Democratic Forces (RFD) and allied parties for joining a new government.
"There are at least two important points (remaining), which are the timetable, and the participation of military in the elections and their neutrality in those elections," he said.
With 16 of 95 National Assembly seats, Daddah's Rally of Democratic Forces (RFD) is the biggest parliamentary party since the ADIL party formed by ousted President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi collapsed this month.
A majority of parliamentarians, including from the RFD, signed a statement in support of Abdallahi's ouster a week after the coup. They accuse Abdallahi of over-stepping his authority and failing to manage economic risks and al Qaeda attacks.
But backing from Daddah and his allies has since weakened, as junta chief General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has delayed setting a timeframe for free polls he has promised, and said he may even stand as president himself.
Daddah met on Tuesday (August 27) with Jean Ping, the top diplomat of the African Union, which suspended Mauritania's membership within days of the coup. Abdallahi has been in detention since.
The United States has already frozen around 25 million US dollars in military and development aid and warned much bigger sums of future aid is at stake. The European Union's aid commissioner has threatened to halt non-humanitarian aid and freeze payments of more than 100 million US dollars million a year for fisheries rights.
"This is also an international problem. As political leaders, we cannot take part in a situation which would lead to the isolation of Mauritania, and eventually to an embargo on Mauritania. " Daddah said.
The parties opposed to the coup, National Front for the Defence of Democracy also held a meeting of protest on Tuesday at the headquarters of the moderate Islamist Tawassoul party.
This month's coup cut short Abdallahi's rule barely 15 months after he became the Islamic republic's first freely elected leader in elections called after a 2005 coup also instigated by Abdel Aziz.
The coup was widely condemned by the international community and brought threats of economic sanctions that could cut hundreds of dollars in Mauritanian aid and contracts, a move that would impoverish further the already struggling economy.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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