Mauritania. According to
CountryAAH, Presidential elections were held in March as
a final step in the transition from military to civilian
rule after the bloody coup in 2005, when a military junta
took power. Juntan overthrew the then President Maaouya Ould
Sid'Ahmed Taya, who had ruled the country with iron hand for
21 years. In the first round of the unusual election on
March 11, when the military junta voluntarily left power, 20
presidential candidates participated. The military junta had
forbidden its own members to stand. Most votes were given to
Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdellahi, an independent candidate who had
the support of the army. His main opponent was the old
opposition leader from the Party of Democratic Forces (RFD),
Ahmed Ould Daddah. Both were imprisoned under part of Taya's
rule, but Abdellahi was also part of two of Taya's
governments. The election was described as the first
completely free and fair in the country's history. As none
of the candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote,
a second round of voting was held on March 25. Abdellahi was
then backed by a coalition of 18 parties and won with 53
percent of the vote, while Daddah reached up to 47 percent.
In April, Abdellahi took office and appointed his
government with, among other things, two ministers who were
part of the Tayas government. At about the same time, M.
regained his membership in the African Union, which the
country was excluded from after the 2005 coup.
In August, Parliament passed a law that criminalizes
slavery, which was one of Abdellahi's election promises.
Slavery was abolished in M. 1981 but continued in practice
anyway, and it was not a criminal offense to violate the
provisions. With the new law, anyone who keeps people
addicted can be sentenced to up to ten years in prison.
About 30,000 Mauretanians suffered severe floods in
August. At least three people died and tens of thousands
became homeless when their homes were destroyed. The
government appealed for help from the outside world.
Mauritania - Nouakchott
Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania; 899,900 residents (2014). Nouakchott is
the administrative center with several industries, including sugar refinery. The
city has road links with the agricultural areas in the south and the mining
districts in the north of the country. Nouakchott also has an international
airport and an export port for crude oil and copper. The move to the city was
great during the 1970s as a result of the severe dry years in the Sahel.
From 1960, when Mauritania became independent, Nouakchott developed from
coastal village to the capital of the new state.