Country Risk

Mauritanian president's increasing control over succession ensures policy continuity and presents opportunities in energy infrastructure and fisheries

11 September 2018

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz casts his vote on 1 September 2018 at a polling station in Nouakchott for the country's legislative, regional, and local elections. Source: Ahmed Ould Mohamed Ould Elhadj/AFP/Getty Images: 1025808760

Key Points

  • The results of the first round give lead to the ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) party.
  • The importance of securing these parliamentary, local, and regional elections mainly stems from the ability to secure seats in parliament, allowing for changes in the constitution should incumbent President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz decide to stand for re-election in 2019.
  • Ongoing government economic reforms and planned investment in infrastructure are likely to continue receiving priority, particularly in mining, fishery, and energy infrastructure projects as foreign direct investments remain a critical source of financing for the country's twin current-account and fiscal deficits.


On 8 September 2018, the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) announced the results of the parliamentary, local, and regional elections on 1 September. Voting included the inaugural polls for local and regional councils that have replaced the Senate after the latter was abolished by constitutional amendments in August 2017.

The ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) party won majority of seats in parliament, filling 67 out of the 157 seats, followed by the opposition Islamist Party with 14 seats. However, no party obtained an absolute majority, so a run-off will be held on 15 September 2018 between the parties that received the largest number of votes in the first round. Fifteen more members of parliament (MPs) are to be elected by voters and four MPs to represent the Mauritanian diaspora will be elected by their peers.

The UPR has also won 4 out of the 13 regional councils, and 108 out of the 219 municipalities, whereas the others will be elected in the second round of voting. These elections precede presidential polls slated for April or May 2019.

Large participation by the opposition

The National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) announced a turnout rate of 73.4% of the 1.4 million registered voters.

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