Mauritania’s ruling party and Islamist opposition group traded accusations of foul play on Tuesday as the campaign for the west African nation’s legislative and local polls drew towards its conclusion. The governing Union for the Republic (UPR) — overwhelming favourites to win Saturday’s elections — cast doubts over the funding of Tewassoul, a relatively new party fighting its first election. “This party has much larger resources than my party. We want to know where these means are coming from,” UPR national campaign director Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Jaavar said during a meeting in the capital Nouakchott. He demanded that Tewassoul leaders “set themselves apart from the Islamists who have committed a lot of damage in the Arab and Muslim world”. “No party has the right to appropriate Islam, which is the religion of all of us, for itself,” he added. Meanwhile Tewassoul, a self-styled moderate party legalised in 2007 that professes to hold different beliefs and goals from Mauritania’s jihadist fringe, hit back by accusing the UPR of illegally using public money to fund its electioneering.
Tewassoul campaign chief Cheikhani Ould Beiba Ould Beiba said the UPR was “using the attributes of the state, its material resources, photos of the president and putting pressure on workers and communities to get the support of uninformed people.”
“Whatever the extent of all that, you can be sure we will achieve significant results,” said Tewassoul leader Jemil Ould Mansour at a party gathering in Nouakchott.
The UPR is due to stage a large rally on Thursday in the capital, a key battleground where a third of Mauritania’s population of 3.4 million people resides.
Full Article: AFP: Mauritanian parties accuse rivals of foul play.