Constitutional Background

Mauritania has Islam as its State religion (Art. 5), the President must be a Muslim (Art. 23), and he is assisted by a High Islamic Council (Art. 94). The constitution does not acknowledge explicitly an individual right to choose and practice one's religion. However, some fundamental rights are guaranteed (Pmbl, Art. 10 ff.) and the pluralist democratic character is strongly protected (Art. 99).

The strong stance of the Presidential Government is emphasized by the President's continuous re-eligibility (Art. 28), the short regular sessions of Parliament (Art. 52), the governmental competence to set the priorities of the parliamentary agendas (Art. 69), and the de facto restriction for votes of no confidence (cf. Art. 74-77). The legislative process provides for an examination of constitutionality prior to adopting laws (Art. 67, 86). Among the special provisions of the Mauritanian Constitution is the explicit duty to know the law (Art. 17). Another specialty of Mauritania's Constitution is the requirement of a one third majority before any constitutional amendment is being discussed in Parliament (Art. 99).

History and News

  • 6 March 1992: National Assembly elections; opposition parties refuse to participate; Colonel Taya's SDP (Social Democratic Party) wins a majority of the seats. 
  • 24 Jan 1992: Colonel Taya wins the presidency by 63% of votes cast. Five opposition parties complain about fraud in the electoral process. 
  • 14 Oct 1991: Electoral law requires support of at least 50 town councillors for presidential candidacy. 
  • 25 July 1991: Military Committee of National Salvation adopts a party and press law prohibiting parties based on religion, race, or region and ecognizing limited freedom of the press (cf. Art. 103). 
  • 12 July 1991: Constitutional approval by 97%. 
  • 15 April 1991: Colonel Taya announces that a constitutional referendum would be held. 
  • Sep 1990 - March 1991: Violent internal fight of the Armed Forces with many detentions on allegation of plotting to overthrow the government. 
  • 1978: Foundation of the Military Committee of National Salvation as a legislative body.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - 27.6.2020 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.