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Mauritania gets female presidential candidate

Lalla Mariam Bint Moulaye Idriss has filed her application to run in the presidential elections in Mauritania due to take place on June 21, the Constitutional Council announced yesterday.

Bint Moulaye Idriss, 57, is the second female candidate for presidency in the history of Mauritania. The first was Aisha Bint Jedeine who ran for presidency in 2003 but was not elected into office.

Women in Mauritania hold up to 20 per cent of the elected positions in the state and they are calling for more involvement in the political affairs.

Bint Moulaye Idriss is currently the head of the administration council of the official Mauritanian news agency. She is a mother of four and holds a master’s degree in financial engineering.

She is competing against two male candidates: President Mohamed Ould Abdel-Aziz, who is seeking re-election, and Boidel Ould Houmeid, the head of the moderate opposition party Al-Wiam, which has seven representatives of the 147 currently in parliament.

Abdel-Aziz has been in office since 2009 and he is the head of the African Union while Houmeid previously held several ministerial positions.

Opposition group the National Club for Democracy and Unity announced on May 4 that it would boycott the presidential elections accusing the current regime of undermining political dialogue.

The National Club includes 10 political parties; they boycotted parliamentary and municipal elections which were held in December. The ruling regime and the Islamic Al-Tawasul Party won the elections.

The People’s Progressive Alliance, lead by former Parliament Speaker Massoud Ould Boulkheir, announced yesterday that it would boycott the presidential elections because of what it called the “absence of transparency”.

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