The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is an Islamic country with
a 100% Muslim population (Joan J, 1984). Before the 1991’s constitution,
Islamic Republic of Mauritania was ruled by one party regime under different
military movements which always came to power by coups between 1978 and 1984.
After state opened the door for a new situation and allowed some different
ideological movements to establish their own organizations, parties,
associations.., except the Islamists even they were a very popular and
important group at that time from that political opportunity, the Islamists
were at that time, generally, represented by a new movement belonged/similar to
the Muslim brotherhood and their general view both ideological and political
aspirations. Although it is one of the world’s poorest countries, with one of
the highest number of coops around the world in general and Arabic and Islamic
world in particular, Mauritania recently has been one of the important actors
in the north- western Africa, and a key player in the regional strategy against
terrorism in the Western Africa.
society is considered to be one of the most religious societies in the Muslim
World and an opened society as well as full and democratized regarding the rest
of the both Muslim and Arab Worlds based on different levels of all rights
which are given and offered there more than any other Arab and Muslim country,
due to having all the democracy steps practiced and joined by all society
levels and categories such as women, yang and all minorities there who all are
well represented in the two official and nonofficial area, state and society
bodies, which can be explain as an exception among the religious societies all
around the world. (Alnahwi E. 1978).
Overview of Mauritania
Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is
an important African, Arabic and Islamic country with 3.5 Million population
(2015), located in the North West of Africa. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean
in the west, on Western Sahara in the northwest and north, on Algeria in the
northeast, on Mali in the east and southeast, and on Senegal in the southwest.
Nouakchott is the capital and largest city.
Early History through the
By the beginning of the 1st
millennium A.D. Sanhaja Berbers had migrated into Mauritania, pushing the black
African inhabitants (especially the Soninké) southward toward the Senegal
River. The Hodh region (East of Mauritania), which became desert only in the
11th century, was the center of the ancient empire of Ghana (700–1200), whose
capital, Kumbi-Saleh, located near the present-day border with Mali, has been
unearthed by archaeologists. Until the 13th century, Oualata, Awdaghost, and
Kumbi-Saleh, all in SE Mauritania, were major centers along the trans-Saharan caravan
routes linking Morocco with the region along the upper Niger River.
In the 11th century, the
Almoravids (AL-Murabitoun) movement was founded among the Muslim Berbers of Mauritania.
In the 14th and 15th century, SE Mauritania was part of the empire of
Mali, centered along the upper Niger. By this time the Sahara had encroached on
much of Mauritania, consequently limiting agriculture and reducing the
population. In the 1440s, Portuguese navigators explored the Mauritanian coast
and established a fishing base on Arguin Island, located near the present-day
boundary with Western Sahara. (Joan J, 1984, p 61).
From the 17th cent.,
Dutch, British, and French traders were active along the Mauritanian coast;
they were primarily interested in the gum Arabic gathered near the Senegal
River. Under Louis Faidherbe, governor of Senegal (61-1854; 65-1863), France
gained control of Mauritania. The region was declared a protectorate in 1903,
but parts of the north were not pacified until the 1930s.
Until 1920, when it became a
separate colony in French West Africa, Mauritania was administered as part of
Senegal. Saint-Louis, in Senegal, continued to be Mauritania’s administrative
center until 1957, when it was replaced by Nouakchott. The French ruled through
existing political authorities and did little to develop the country’s economy
or to increase educational opportunities for the population. National political
activity began only after World War II. In 1958, Mauritania became an
autonomous republic within the French Community.
pluralism in Mauritania, a long march towards democracy
Following independence from France
in 1960 and the ensuing one-party government of Mokhtar Ould Daddah, deposed in
1978, Mauritania had a series of military rulers until the first Mauritanian
Multi-Party elections in 1992, which was attended for first time by some
opposition parties and independent candidates and generally the history of
Mauritanian Democracy has passed through various phases.
Independence and one-party system (1960-1978): This period started form the Mauritanian independence and the
funding of the Mauritanian People’s Party (PPM) Hizb Al-Sha’ab Al-Muritaniy,
which was the sole legal party of Mauritania from 1961 to 1978. It was headed
by the first Mauritanian President Moktar Ould Daddah.
Ould Daddah founded the party
shortly after Mauritania’s independence from France in November 1960 by merging
the former ruling party, the Mauritanian Re-groupment Party, with opposition
parties including Association de la Jeunesse Mauritanienne, Revolution Party,
the Union National Mauritanians, and the Union Socialist des Musulmans
Mauritanians. The parties were united at a meeting of their political
leadership in December 1961, and Daddah proceeded to enact a range of repressive
laws, banning alternative political parties and bestowing virtually unlimited
power upon the Presidency.
Following the July 1978 coup led by
Mustafa Ould Salek, Mauritania’s civilian leadership was replaced with military
rule and the political parties were abolished and banned.