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Mauritania - Political Parties

Parties and coalitions continue to form, dissolve, align and break apart as they search for a role in the unfamiliar territory of a democratic transition. By 2006 Mauritania had four identifiable political party coalitions, and 35 recognized political parties. The current issues of significant importance to political parties include: public financing for political parties, the organized return of refugees, the problem of voter registrations in the south, and Mauritanian-Israeli relations in the context of the ongoing Middle East conflict. While a majority of parties are little more than the personality of their president, and lack a definable platform or understanding of the democratic process, several parties were maturing quickly, and beginning to develop the political sophistication needed to play a viable role in elections.

The organization behind the 1986 Manifesto of the Oppressed Black Mauritanian was FLAM (Forces de liberation africaine de Mauritanie), which has periodically issued reports from its European branch. FLAM includes several movements: MPAM (Mouvement populaire africain de Mauritanie), ODINAM (Organisation pour la defense des interets des negro-africains de Mauritanie), UDM (Union pour la democratie en Mauritanie), and MEEN (Mouvement des eleves et etudiants noirs). In October 1989, FLAM issued its "Livre blanc sur la situation des noirs en Mauritanie," a compendium of its state~ents, news reports, Amnesty International reports, and other documentary evidence about discrimination, torture, and abuse of black Africans in Mauritania. FLAM's position has been fairly radical, but it cannot be accused of advocating only violence. The manifesto, for example, called for negotiated solutions, and this seemed to be FLAM's preference.

The Baathist and Nasserist movements in Mauritania take the position that Mauritania's Africanness is to be eliminated. Mauritania's destiny, in their view, lies with the Arab world.

Mauritania had a fragile democratic system under President Abdallahi, but it was democracy nonetheless, in contrast to the artificial "African-style democracy" under President Taya. Despite their knowledge that Abdallahi was the military's preferred candidate, members of the moderate Islamist party Tawassoul accepted his election because of the free and transparent elections, and because they hoped his election would lead to lasting democracy in the country. Their hopes were bolstered when Abdallahi legalized Islamist political parties for the first time in Mauritania's history.

COALITIONS

THE COALITION OF FORCES FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (CFDC)
(Six former members of the Bloc of Eight coalition)
  1. The Popular Progressive Alliance (APP)
  2. The Popular Front (FP)
  3. Union for Forces and Progress (UFP)
  4. Democratic Renewal (RD)
  5. Gathering of Democratic Forces (RFD)
  6. Rally for Mauritania (RPM)
  7. Mauritanian Party for Union and Change (PMUC)
  8. Union of the Democratic Center (UCD)
  9. The Central Reformist Party
  10. The Direct Democratic Movement

The CFDC, which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties, has committed to working collectively to prevent any candidates from the former regime from being elected, to form a coalition government if any CFDC parties win the presidency, and to cutting Mauritania's diplomatic ties with Israel. The coalition rose out of the powerful "Bloc of Eight" coalition, which had formed to collectively negotiate with the government on the run up to elections, but had not planned to work collectively during or after elections. The CFDC, which includes six of the eight parties from the Bloc of Eight, is a more formal coalition aimed at gaining power through party-to-party cooperation. The presidency of the coalition rotates among member parties every 15 days. Currently, Jemil Ould Mansour, president of the unrecognized political party "The Central Reformist Party," was president of the coalition.

BLOC FOR CHANGE (BPC):
  1. Party for Liberty Equality and Justice (PLEJ)
  2. Mauritanian Labor Party (PTM)
  3. Alliance for Justice and Democracy (AJD)
  4. Mauritanian Party for the Protection of the Environment (PMDE)

The BPC, headed by Cisse Amadou Cheikhou, was the first official party coalition to form after the coup. Originally having seven members, the group is now down to these four. PLEJ and AJD are two of the three recognized Afro-Mauritanian political parties (APP, which represents both Afro-Mauritanians and Haratines is the third). The coalition was founded on common issues related to the rights of Afro-Mauritanians. The presidency rotated among member parties.

COORDINATION OF NATIONAL POLITICAL PARTIES (CPPN)
  1. National Union for Democracy and Development (UNDD)
  2. Mauritanian Liberal Democratic Party (PMLD)
  3. National Gathering for Freedom, Democracy, and Justice (RNLDJ)
  4. Planning and Construction Party (UPC)
  5. Party of the Third Generation (PTG)
  6. Mauritanian Revival and Agreement Party (PMRC)
  7. National Group for Unity and Justice (RNUJ)
  8. Mauritanian Party for Renewal (PMR)

The CPPN was a catch-all coalition of eight minor parties, led by the president of UNDD (the most powerful party in the coalition) Koita Tidjane. The coalition originally comprised 13 parties, but five split off to form the Rally of the Forces for Progress Coalition.

RALLY OF THE FORCES FOR PROGRESS (RFP)
  1. Social Democratic Union (USD)
  2. Mauritanian Central Democratic Party (PCDM)
  3. National Party for Democratic Cooperation (PCD)
  4. Party of Democratic Alliance (PAD)
  5. Democratic Union Party (PUD)
  6. Party for Work and National Unity (PTUN)

The RFP was a catchall coalition of six minor parties, led by the president of USD Isselmou Ould Hanefi. The coalition comprises five parties that were formerly in the CPPN coalition, and adds the PTUN party.

MINOR PARTIES

  1. AJD: Alliance pour la Justice et la Democratie (Alliance for Justice and Democracy) -- Small Pular party making the issue of Black African deportees and refugees the centerpiece of its agenda. One of four political parties in the coalition "Bloc for Change," that committed to present a single list of candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The bloc called on the government to address human rights abuses and end slavery. President Cisse Amadou Cheikhou

  2. Alternative Party -- Recognized by the transitional government on March 21, 2006, the party includes a number of members who left the PRDS/PRDR (the former ruling party under Taya), and its leaders include several important figures from the previous regime. The group is seen by many as one of the more viable political parties due to the notoriety of its members. President: Mohamed Yehdhih Ould Moctar El Hassen, served as the former Secretary General of the PRDS for 3 years.

  3. APP: Alliance Populaire Progressiste (Popular Progressive Alliance) -- A self-described radical opposition party with a history of Pan-Arab nationalism. The party integrated Black Arabs (Haratines) and Black Africans (Afro-Mauritanians) after the dissolution of the Action pour la Changement (Action for Change, a radical political party dissolved under President Taya). The APP was founded in 1991 and its Secretary General is Messaoud Boulkhar. Boulkhar, whose last name sources indicate is written "Boukjehir" (Aujourd'hui Le Maroc Aug. 2005) or "Boukheir" (Angola Press Agency (ANGOP). 20 Aug. 2005), is described as [translation] "one of the most virulent opponents of the deposed president ... [and as someone who] has been imprisoned a number of times" (Aujourd'hui Le Maroc Aug. 2005). The Angola Press Agency (ANGOP), referring to the new regime in Mauritania since 3 August 2005, states in an article that the leader of the APP met with Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, Chairman of the CMJD and President of Mauritania, to discuss humanitarian issues, and slavery in particular (20 Aug. 2005). According to the same source, "the meeting fell within consultations between the new regime, political parties and the civil society" (ANGOP 20 Aug. 2005).

    APP President Boulkheir, a Black Moor, ran in the 2003 presidential election and received 5.98 percent of the vote (according to official government figures). Under the regime of former president Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, the APP was not on good terms with the government because of its anti-slavery protests. As a result, some of its members and leaders, in particular, Secretary General Messaoud Ould Belkheir, were arrested and imprisoned a number of times. More arrests came in March 2005, when two female APP members were arrested and detained for a month in the Nouakchott prison for women, primarily because they had accompanied a journalist who was investigating a case of slavery in the village of Maderdra; however, their membership in the APP was a [translation] "aggravating factor".

    One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. On 30 April 2006, the party's Secretary General Sarr Ibrahima resigned from the party over "differences" with the party leadership over issues such as the return of refugees. Sarr is a well-known spokesman for the Afro-Mauritanian community. A member of the "CFDC" a political party coalition which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties. The group is seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. President: Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, former minister of Rural Development under Taya.

  4. FP: Front Populaire (Popular Front) -- Opposition party under the Taya government which held one seat in the former National Assembly. Party President Chebih Ould Cheikh Malainine, a former Minister in Taya's government, was sentenced to five years in prison in 2001 for allegedly plotting to destabilize the government; he was released in 2003 after serving more than two years. Malainine, who has declared his candidacy for the presidency, is a member of the influential Cheikh Malainine family, well-known in both Morocco and Mauritania. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. A member of the "CFDC" a political party coalition which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties. The group is seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. President: Chbih Ould Cheikh Malainine

  5. PLEJ: Parti pour la Liberte l'Egalite et la Justice (Party for Liberty, Equality, and Justice) -- Opposition Pular party under the Taya government. Party President Alassane (who lived in the U.S. for several years) served as a Minister under former President Daddah and was a UN Adviser in the Great Lakes conflict. One of four political parties in the coalition "Bloc for Change," that has committed to present a single list of candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The bloc has called on the government to address human rights abuses and end slavery. - President of the party Ba Mamadou Alassane announced his candidacy for the presidency in the 2007 election. President: Ba Mamadou Alassane

  6. PSD: Parti Sociale Democratique (Democratic Social Party) -- An ethnically mixed opposition party of doctors, lawyers, professors and other professionals recognized by the transitional government on March 21, 2006. The party's platform called for an equitable distribution of wealth, increased humanitarian assistance for the poor, and an end to tribalism and government corruption. The party has a small number of followers. President: Mohamed Saleck Ould Deida

  7. RD: Renouveau Democratique (Democratic Renewal) -- A centrist party comprised predominately of former members of the PRDS/PRDR who left to form this new party. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. A member of the "CFDC" a political party coalition which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties. The group is seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. President: Moustapha Ould Abeidarrahmane was a key player in the Taya government, serving as Taya's first campaign director in the 1992 presidential elections, and later as governor of the Central Bank.

  8. RDU: Rassemblement pour la Democracie et l'Unite (Rally for Democracy and Unity) -- First recognized party. Member of the former majority governing coalition under Taya with very influential and well-known intellectual figures including former Ambassador to the U.S., Mohamed Said Ould Hamody, who played a key role in organizing a national dialogue between the majority and opposition parties in April. The party had been closely aligned with the PRDS (Now PRDR). The group is seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. President: Ahmed Ould Sidi Baba, cousin of former President Taya, brother of former President of the Moroccan National Assembly, Dey Ould Sidi Baba. He served several times as Minister under both Daddah and Taya.

  9. RFD: Rassemblement des Forces Democratiques (Gathering of Democratic Forces) -- The party has strengthened considerably since the August 3 coup. Established in 2001, it was the oldest opposition party under Taya, and suffered from his oppression, including the repeated jailing of RFD members -- including RFD President Ahmed Ould Daddah on several occasions. With Taya out, the RFD can now operate more freely and it has gained significant political capital for having withstood Taya for so many years. The RFD attracted many new high-profile members since the 2005 coup, many of whom csme from the PRDS/PRDR. Defectors include N,beyka Mayor Mohamed Ould Ahmed and close friends and relatives of Colonel Fal, such as Ahmed Ould Hamza. RFD's President Ahmed Ould Daddah (brother of Mauritania's first post-independence President, Moktar Ould Daddah) received 6.85 percent of the vote in the 2003 presidential elections (according to official government figures). One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. A member of the "CFDC" a political party coalition which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties. The group was seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. President: Ahmed Ould Daddah (brother of former first President Moktar Ould Daddah).

  10. RPM: Rassemblement pour la Mauritanie (Rally for Mauritania) -- Initially the party applied for recognition under the name PCD (Party of Democratic Convergence). They were denied recognition under the government claim that they were an Islamic party (in violation of Mauritanian law), due to their well known Islamist membership, including Jemil Mansour and Moktar Ould Mohamed Moussa. The party removed its Islamist members and reapplied for recognition under the new name. The party has many well known members, many of whom supported Former President Haidalla in the 2003 elections against Taya. A member of the "CFDC" a political party coalition which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties. The group was seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. Presdient: Dr. Cheikh Ould Horma.

  11. SAWAB: ("Right Way" in Arabic) -- Important Arab Nationalist/Baathist party that was among the most recent parties recognized by the former regime. Created by the main Arab Nationalist figures in the country (Breydelleyl and Ismael Ould Amar) who supported Haidalla in the 2003 presidential elections. Very active with the national Arab elite. Includes many of the members of the former National Rebirth Party (PRN). One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. Former member of the "Bloc of 8" coalition which dissolved and regrouped into the current CFDC coalition. SAWAB, along with "The Union for Democracy and Progress," decided not to join the CFDC, citing "ideological difference" with the new coalition. The group was seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. President: Cheikh Ould Sidi Ould Hanena.

  12. Tawassoul [Tawassul is supplication of Allah through an intermediary, and Allah alone gives success] -- The Tawassoul party had been one of the strongest political opponents of the 2008 coup, and probably the most vocal political party within the FNDD. In contrast to many other Mauritanian politicians and their "nomadic" tendencies, Tawassoul members appear to hold strong principled stands, rooted in Islamic ideals. Having suffered repression under President Taya, the members of Tawassoul are not keen to see their gains made under Abdallahi erased. They appear committed to fighting the coup for the long haul and to restoring constitutional legitimacy.

    Moderate Islamist party Tawassoul has been one of the few winners in the 2009 year of political crisis -- successfully establishing itself as a credible political movement and poised to expand its influence. This political party, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which Taya's government would not recognize and set out to repress, went on to join the government under President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. Abdallahi's inclusion of Tawassoul in the political process raised red flags with the majority and was one of the justifications for the coup d'etat. After playing an active role in the anti-coup coalition Front National pour la Defense de la Democratie (FNDD), Tawassoul parted ways with the FNDD and decided to run an independent candidate in the July 18 presidential election. With less than five percent in the July 18 election but with an impressive nine parliamentarians, Tawassoul remained an influential voice among Mauritania's major political players. Now, to everybody's surprise, the party that the majority once rejected fielded a common list with majority party Union Pour la Republique (UPR) for the November 2009 senatorial elections.

    The Islamist party Tewassoul on Sunday won seats in parliament 24 NOvember 2013. It was the first time legislative polls had been held since President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz took power in a coup in 2008. The vote went forward despite a boycott by 10 out of 11 of the parties in the radical-opposition coalition, who called the vote an “electoral masquerade”.

  13. UCD: Union du Centre Democratique (Union of the Democratic Center) -- Recognized by the transitional government on March 21, 2006, the party includes a number of members who left the PRDS/PRDR (the former ruling party under Taya). Its leadership included several wealthy individuals with strong ties to former President Taya. A member of the "CFDC" a political party coalition which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties. Leadership: Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Deh, Rachid Ould Saleh, Yahya Ould Atigh, Taleb Mohamed Ould Lemrabot Hamoud Ould Abdy, Eby Ould Doussou, Ba Houdou.

  14. UDP: Union pour la Democratie et le Progres (Union for Democracy and Progress) -- Small, ethnically mixed party with several seats in the former National Assembly. Member of the former majority governing coalition under Taya. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. Former member of the "Bloc of 8" coalition which dissolved and regrouped into the current CFDC coalition. UDP, along with "SAWAB," decided not to join the CFDC, citing "ideological difference" with the new coalition. The group was seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. President: Ms. Naha Mint Mouknass, took over after the death of her father Hamdi Ould Mouknass the founder of the party and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs under Daddah,s regime and a presidential advisor to Taya. She was the only female president of a recognized political party.

  15. UFP: Union des Forces du Progres (Union for Force and Progress) -- Moderate opposition group under the Taya government that split from the former UFD (political party of Ahmed Ould Daddah) after opposing the integration of Nasserists. Composed primarily of Afro-Mauritanians and Haratines, the group favored an open dialogue with the former government and was one of the most important opposition parties to have regular meetings with President Taya. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. A member of the "CFDC" a political party coalition which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties. The group was seen by many as one of the more viable political parties. President: Mohamed Ould Maouloud

  16. UNDD: Union Nationale pour la Democratie et le Developpement (National Union for Democracy and development) -- Small moderate opposition party under the Taya government with limited political influence. Predominantly Soninke in membership, party president Tidjane is a former Senator of Kaedi (in the South). Tidjane met regularly with President Taya. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 8 parties in the "Coordination of National Political Parties (CPPN)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of UNDD Koita Tidjane. President: Koita Tidjane

VERY SMALL PARTIES

  1. Charte Nationale/Almithaq Alwatani (National Charter) -- Very Small party with limited political influence. President: Cheikh Melainine Ould Chbih

  2. PAD: Parti de l,Alliance Democratique (Party of Democratic Alliance) -- Very small opposition party with limited political influence. Member of the former majority governing coalition under Taya. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 6 parties in the "Rally of the Forces for Progress (RFP)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of the USD Isselmou Ould Hanefi. Representative: Mohamed Abdallahi Ould Taleb Ethmane

  3. PCD: Parti pour la Cooperation Democratique (National Party for Democratic Cooperation) -- Small party with limited political influence. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 6 parties in the "Rally of the Forces for Progress (RFP)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of the USD Isselmou Ould Hanefi. President: Mahfoudh Ould Mohamed Saleh Ould Ahmed

  4. PCDM: Parti du Centre Democratique Mauritanien (Mauritanian Central Democratic Party) -- Very small party with limited political influence. Member of the former majority governing coalition under Taya. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 6 parties in the "Rally of the Forces for Progress (RFP)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of the USD Isselmou Ould Hanefi. President: Mamouny Ould Mokar Mbareck, former Wali in Assaba under Taya. (A Wali is the Presidential-appointed head of government for one of Mauritania's 13 regions.)

  5. PMDE: Parti Mauritanien pour la Defense de l'Environnement (Mauritanian Party for the Protection of the Environment) -- Very small green party with limited political influence. Member of the former majority governing coalition under Taya. One of four political parties in the coalition "Bloc of for Change," that has committed to present a single list of candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The bloc has called on the government to address human rights abuses and end slavery. President: Mohamed Ould Sidi Dellahi

  6. PMLD: Parti Mauritanien des Libaux Democrates (Mauritanian Liberal Democratic Party) -- Very small opposition party under the Taya government with a small following and limited political influence. The group was largely inactive by 2007. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 8 parties in the "Coordination of National Political Parties (CPPN)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of UNDD Koita Tidjane. President: Moustapha Ould Lemrabott

  7. PMR: Parti Mauritanien du Renouveau (Mauritanian Party for Renewal) -- Very small party with limited political influence. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 8 parties in the "Coordination of National Political Parties (CPPN)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of UNDD Koita Tidjane. President: Mohamed Ould Haimdoune

  8. PMRC: Parti Mauritanien pour le Renouveau et la Concorde (Mauritanian Revival and Agreement Party) -- Small, moderate opposition party with no real following and limited influence. Party President Jiyid ran in the 1992, 1997 and 2003 presidential elections. In the election he received only 1.48 percent of the vote (according to official government figures). One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 8 parties in the "Coordination of National Political Parties (CPPN)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of UNDD Koita Tidjane. President: Moulaye El Hacen Ould Jiyid

  9. PMUC: Parti Mauritanien pour l'Union et le Changement (Mauritanian Party for Union and Change) -- Recognized by the transitional government on March 21, 2006, the party was formed by members of the Knights of Change, a group of military officers that participated in three failed coup attempts between 2003 and 2004 against former President Taya. The party had some limited popular support stemming from their longstanding opposition to the Taya regime, but are seen by many as a military force rather than a viable political party. A member of the "CFDC" a political party coalition which includes some of Mauritania's most powerful political parties. Co-founder of the party Mohamed Ould Cheikhna has declared his candidacy for the presidency. President: Saleh Ould Hanena, a former Army Major arrested and later released by the Taya government.

  10. PRDR: Parti Republicain pour la Democracie et le Renouveau (Republican Party for Democracy and Revival) Name Changed from: PRDS: Parti Republicain Democratique et Social (Democratic and Social Republican Party) -- Former President Taya's political party. Largely composed of the elite from Taya's government. The party held different meetings from late October to early December 2005 in which it elected new party leadership, changed the party name, and eliminated the position of party chairman. The party remains the largest, most powerful party in Mauritania. However, infighting and desertions have weakened it significantly. Secretary General: Ikrin Ould Mohamed Vall, former Minister and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia under Taya.

  11. PTG: Parti de la Troisieme Generation (Party of the Third Generation) -- Very small opposition Nasserist party with a small following and limited political influence. The group was largely inactive by 2007. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 8 parties in the "Coordination of National Political Parties (CPPN)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of UNDD Koita Tidjane. Representative: Lebatt Ould Etah

  12. PTM: Parti Travailliste Mauritanian (Mauritanian Labor Party) -- Very small political party with limited political influence. Close to the former majority governing coalition under Taya. One of four political parties in the coalition "Bloc for Change," that committed to present a single list of candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The bloc called on the government to address human rights abuses and end slavery. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. President: Mohamed El Hafedh Ould Denna (from Taya's Smacide tribe)

  13. PTUN: Parti pour le Travail et l'Unite Nationale (Party for Work and National Unity) -- Very small opposition party with limited political influence. Close to the Iraqi Baath party. The group was largely inactive by 2007. One of 6 parties in the "Rally of the Forces for Progress (RFP)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of the USD Isselmou Ould Hanefi. President: Ely Bouha Ould Aweineni

    Funded by Iraq, the Baathist movement seemed to have substantial support among some members of the government in that low-level government complicity in Baathist attacks on black Mauritanians was widely documented. Yet the extremism of the Baathist movement had equally been regularly perceived as a threat by the state -- at least through 1988. In August 1981 and March 1982 some 150 Baathists were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned without trial. Released in July 1983, 26 were rearrested along with 29 others in September 1983 and tried and convicted for "complicity with a foreign power." At regular intervals between 1986 and 1988 Baathists were incarcerated. In August 1988 Baathists were hunted down and summarily tortured, convicted, and imprisoned in much the same way members of FLAM had been treated.

  14. PUD: Parti Unioniste Democratique (Democratic Union Party) -- Very small opposition party under the Taya government with a small following and limited political influence. The group was largely inactive by 2007. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 6 parties in the "Rally of the Forces for Progress (RFP)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of the USD Isselmou Ould Hanefi. Representative: Mahfoudh Ould Azizi

  15. RNLDJ: Rassemblement national pour la Liberte, la Democratie et la Justice (National Gathering for Freedom, Democracy and Justice) -- Very small party with limited political influence. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 8 parties in the "Coordination of National Political Parties (CPPN)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of UNDD Koita Tidjane. President: Mohamed Ahmed Ould Sidi Yahya.

  16. RNUJ: Rassemblement National pour l'Unite et la Justice (National Group for Unity and Justice) -- Very small party with limited political influence. Member of the former majority governing coalition under Taya. This was the only party that called for the return of Taya after the August 2005 coup. The party spokesman is a member of Taya,s Smacid Tribe. One of 8 parties in the "Coordination of National Political Parties (CPPN)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of UNDD Koita Tidjane. Spokesman: Abdel Vettah Ould Abeidna.

  17. UDN: Union Demoratique Nationale (Democratic National Party) -- Very small party with limited political influence. The group was largely inactive by 2007. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. President: Baba Ould Ahmed Salem.

  18. UPC: Union pour la Planification et la Construction (Planning and Construction Party) -- Very small party from the former majority governing coalition under Taya. The party has a small following and limited political influence. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 8 parties in the "Coordination of National Political Parties (CPPN)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of UNDD Koita Tidjane. Secretary General: Itawal Oumrou Ould H'Meyid.

  19. UPSD: Union Populaire Socialiste et Democrate (Popular Democratic Social Union) --- Small, leftist opposition party popular in the 1990s. President Ould Mah was the former Mayor of Nouakchott. The group's popularity has waned, and with the exception of their participation in the national dialogue held in April, they were largely inactive by 2007. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. President: Dr. Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mah, an economist and university professor, has close ties to the Syrian Baath Party. He often spoke out against the World Bank and IMF.

  20. USD: Union Sociale Democrate (Social Democratic Union) -- Very small Party with limited political influence. Close to the former presidential majority. One of 22 political parties that on 23 November 2005 signed a collective memorandum advocating on issues such as the implementation of a proportional representation electoral system, the use of a single ballot and a ban on independent candidates in the November and December 2006 elections. The 22 political parties have not issued subsequent statements. One of 6 parties in the "Rally of the Forces for Progress (RFP)," a catchall coalition of minor parties, led by the president of the USD Isselmou Ould Hanefi. President of the party Isselmou Ould Hanefi announced his candidacy for the presidency in the 2007 election.





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