Photo Gallery: Police attack peaceful Mauritania election protest

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21 November Update: The joint march of youth groups against the elections was again repressed by police but not as violently as on Monday, as these new photos show:

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Police violently suppressed a peaceful protest outside Mauritania’s Election Commission Monday 18 November 2013. The gathering was attended by more than 100 youth from the m25fev movement, COD opposition youth, and the recently formed election boycott protest movement Many of those injured were young women, and several casualties were taken to hospital with wounds from direct impact of tear gas canisters or having lost consciousness after being overcome by the effects of tear gas.

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Nana Mint Cheikhna Mint Mohamed Laghdaf, MP and member of the RFD party

Nana Mint Cheikhna Mint Mohamed Laghdaf, MP and member of the RFD party

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#Senegal registers over 5million voters in under 3 months

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Some 5,149,044 people have been registered for Senegal’s legislative elections slated for July. Total population was estimated at 12,855,153 in 2011.

The registration of voters was completed by May 31st, 2012 by the electoral operations department, which is affiliated to the General Directorate of Elections, for the forthcoming legislative polls slated for July 1st.

The figure includes around 34,275 new voters registered in the wake of last March’s presidential poll.

Abroad, about 205,920 Senegalese citizens will cast their ballots in 42 countries, while some 11,972 polling stations are spread across the country, totaling no less than 6,192 voting centers.

According to the electoral code, a total of 22,685 military personnel on the computerized voter’s list will turn out to vote a week ahead of the election.

Twenty-four political parties and coalitions are vying for the 150 seat available in the National Assembly, with gender equality fresh in the mind after the gender equity law came into effect on June 11th, 2011 for representation in elected office.

In accordance with the new law Senegal’s 14th National Assembly will consist of 75 male and 75 female MPs, representing a radical departure from the composition of the erstwhile assembly when female MPs represented only 18.5 percent.

Taking inspiration from the law on gender parity, the 2012 legislative polls will witness a woman, Ndella Madior Diouf, at the head of a coalition dubbed Petaw (the Wolof word for cowry).

Two religious clerics are also posing as candidates for seats in the National Assembly.

Cheikh Ahmadou Kara Mbacke, who belongs to the influential Mourid Brotherhood, known for his support of former President Abdoulaye Wade in the 2007 polls, is running under the banner of the Party for Truth and Development (PVD).

As a notable figure of the Tidjaniya Brotherhood, Serigne Mansour Sy Djamil, leading a citizenship movement he called Bes Du Nakk, is entertaining the hope of securing at least 25 seats in the next Assembly.

The former ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) which led the country from 2000 to March 2012, has suffered a split after Pape Diop, the outgoing speaker of the Senate, broke away from the party along with ex-ministers, MPs, senators, amongst others, to form the Bokk Gis Gis coalition.

By a contrast of fortunes, the Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition (Rally of the Forces for Change) that had declared support for current Senegalese head of state, Macky Sall, has remained united in the run-up to the polls.

Source African Press Agency

#Libya voter registration about 50% UN calls it a success

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Are we really supposed to buy this statement from UNSMIL about  Libya voter registrations, in the tiny two week period allowed, of 2.7 million (reported) when the population is almost 7 million? Those age 15 or under are 30% or less of the total, which pus those of voting age considerably more than 2.7 million.

Why so long, #Mauritania?

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ImageA question that has perplexed me since last May when the process began: why does Mauritania’s ruling regime need to take so long to register so few people in their national registration? They have received millions of dollars in funding, support from international agencies, are using the latest biometric systems, boast of having opened new offices with specially-trained staff. They also claimed the 2009 national election that brought Aziz into power was “free and fair”. Why so long? What could have changed so dramatically in the space of less than 2 years between the presidential election and the start of this census?

Compare the Mauritanian lack of progress with events this past two weeks in Libya, where – despite ongoing conflict, social, political and other issues –  1.1 million people have reportedly registered to vote for the first time in decades. It has taken just 10 days so far.

I suspect there are nefarious reasons for this tardy approach, and it is highly unlikely that the delays and foot-dragging are to “ensure transparency” (the excuse used to explain the cancellation of legislative, municipal and parliamentary elections).