Mauritania's president approves law abolishing senate

2017-08-16 21:00
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AFP, File)

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AFP, File)

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Nouakchott - Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has approved a newly drafted law abolishing the senate, the most controversial measure in a package of reforms passed by referendum this month.

Government spokesperson Mohamed Lemine Ould Cheikh confirmed that the president had given final approval to the law, in comments to reporters on Tuesday evening.

The law was passed the same day the constitutional council cleared the results of the August 5 referendum in which 85% of those who voted approved the measure.

But the official turnout figure for the vote was 53.73%, as senators and opposition politicians who campaigned against the changes had called for a boycott of the vote.

The law meant that all the powers previously held by the senate passed to the national assembly, Ould Cheikh told reporters.

President Aziz came to power in a coup in 2008, before being elected in 2009 and again for a second five-year term in 2014.

Opposition groups who opposed the abolition of the senate say Aziz is laying the groundwork for a third term in power, despite his claims to the contrary.

Senators rejected the abolition of their own chamber in March, even though most of them hail from the ruling party. Aziz called the referendum shortly afterwards.

Read more on:    mauritania  |  west africa
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