Mauritania held the first round of its legislative, regional, and local elections on 1 September (see my previous post on the topic here). A second round is scheduled for 15 September. Following the abolishment of the country’s Senate in last year’s referendum, Mauritania has a unicameral National Assembly with 157 seats.
Final results did not appear until 8 September, which caused some outcry in the country. The ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) won 67 seats this round. The second-best scoring party was the Islamists, Tewassoul, who received 14 seats – a loss of two seats, actually, over its numbers from 2013 parliament.
Let’s go into a bit more detail with the results. At the Independent National Electoral Commission’s site, you can find three sets of legislative results – results for the national party lists, for women’s seats, and for departments.
Within the national party list results, here is the breakdown by percentage of the vote:
- UPR: 19.47% or 136,809 votes
- Tewassoul: 11.28% or 79,283 votes
- Then you have parties that received less than 5% of the vote, or between 1,000 and slightly over 30,000 votes. In descending order, the third- through seventh-place finishers were: Union for Democracy and Progress (UDP), Karama, National Democratic Alliance Party (AND), Union of the Forces of Progress (UFP), and the Rally of Democratic Forces (RFD).
The percentages and order are roughly equivalent for the women’s list, although UPR’s and Tewassoul’s percentages were slightly higher on that one (19.6% and 12.6%, respectively).
At the departmental level, a few basic patterns appear:
- In Nouakchott, the capital, Tewassoul edged out UPR, 13% to 12.6%.
- In some places, such as Kaedi (map), UPR’s numbers were much higher than for the national lists (here, 30% of the vote), while Tewassoul’s share collapsed (here, to 3.6%, and that was in coalition with another Islamist party) and other parties took the second-place spot (here, UPD). Nevertheless, one should not conclude that Tewassoul’s appeal is limited to Nouakchott – they remained the second-place finisher even in eastern areas like Aïoun. UPR did very well, though, in the far east, in places such as Néma.
- Some parties are hometown favorites – Karama, for example, was the first-place finisher in M’Bout (map).
In short, UPR did well enough across the country to stay in the fight everywhere, and in some places it was far and away the dominant force.