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[Portraits] Presidential elections in Mauritania: they vote for the first time - RFI


They are 132,000 new voters registered this year on the electoral lists for the presidential election of June 22. Young Mauritanian citizens who

By Paulina ZidiPosted on 20-06-2019Modified on 20-06-2019 at 19:43

They are 132,000 new voters registered this year on the electoral lists for the presidential election of June 22. Young Mauritanian citizens who have decided to commit to this election where the outgoing president does not stand, leaving the field open to the six candidates. Meeting with a youth eager for change.

With our special correspondent in Nouakchott ,

The night fell on Nouakchott, but the streets remain animated. On the first floor of a small downtown building, the office lights are on and young people are coming in and out. It is the headquarters of the March 1st Youth movement. A gathering of young citizens created " regardless of any party " to " that young people are counting in this presidential campaign ," says one of the leaders Moulay Hassan. This student is preparing to vote for the first time and after examining the projects of the candidates, he decided with his movement to join the camp of General Ghazouani, the dolphin of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

A first commitment of which he is rather proud: " It is several emotions together, it is at the same time a weight, a duty that I have now. It's my role as a young citizen to get involved. We have an important role to play in advancing the country. Now, in case of victory, the program is expected to be applied tonight. The young people of March 1st warn: they will be vigilant. And even if they support the candidate of power, they put forward their desire for change. It's even crucial for 20-year-old Aicha: " Things have to change. Today, that's not good at all. For example, education is a real problem. The pass rate is just 10%. Education in recent years has been totally privatized. We, we want change. "

Youth show a model ballot in Nouakchott, Mauritania. © RFI / Paulina Zidi

Another atmosphere, another campaign headquarters. In a peripheral neighborhood of Nouakchott, young people, t-shirt with the colors of the anti-eclatist candidate Biram Dah Abeid, prepare to go foaming their neighborhood. " We did awareness ," says a young woman who is also called Aicha. We will see people with a copy of a ballot and explain to them how they should vote. For this young activist in her twenties, this election is also a first. And from her new commitment, she hopes for change too.

Thirst for justice

Finally, the demands of these young people, committed for different candidates, are similar. Among the supporters of Biram , it highlights the need for education reform, but also " health is very important " and especially " justice " for Bial. " Here, there is no justice. Not all citizens have the same rights. Now that I can vote, I want to do everything I can to make my voice heard. "

They too wanted to get involved for the first time. They are young voters, but more necessarily young people at all. Moussa and his artist friend Ousmane have been in their thirties, but they have never voted for a presidential election so far. The reason: " discouragement ". This impression that the games were made in advance. " When Aziz came to power, I was still a student and for me it was an impostor. He had not been elected, he was not legitimate. So when he introduced himself and represented, I did not want to go to vote, "says rapper Ousmane.

Zeiina, Moussa and Ousmane will vote for the first time in a presidential election in Mauritania. © RFI / Paulina Zidi

What convinced him this time to take his voter's card is the absence of President Abdel Aziz in the list of candidates. At the end of his two terms, he was not able to represent himself according to the Constitution. And for Ousmane and his friend Moussa, it's the click. An opportunity to end the inequalities in the country. For Moussa, the key to this election is national unity: " President Aziz, he was forcibly loved, but in reality, he has disunited us. We are divided into ethnic groups, clans and families. And while we should unite to end the power of the military, finally, we are divided . "

" It has to stop "

Ending the power of the military is also the envy of Jemal and Ainina. Both are also well into their 30s and both registered for the first time this year on the lists of electors. They decided to engage alongside former Prime Minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar. It's also at his campaign headquarters that we meet them. A few days before the first lap, fatigue is felt, but enthusiasm is present. " I want a competent president, a president who has studied, who will give Mauritania international credibility ," Jemal argues.

Campaign headquarters of candidate Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar in Nouakchott, Mauritania. © RFI / Paulina Zidi

And for Ainina, Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar has the profile that the country needs: " In addition, he was trained in Mauritania, so he knows all our problems. He knows the division of Mauritanian society. He knows that the military can not fix everything. The army is a financial chasm. It must stop. "

Arguments, ideas that animated the young Mauritanians during this campaign, but in a rather confidential way. The great debates were quite absent from a rather dull campaign that was limited to a confrontation between power and opposition.

Some see the day of the vote arrive without really having their opinion. This is the case of Zeiina also met in Nouakchott. She is still a high school student, but will also go to vote for the first time. For her part, she is not involved in politics at all. For her, going to vote is just an obvious, a duty: " In my family everyone votes, my parents, my brothers and sisters. So necessarily go to register on the lists, it was an obligation . Zeiina was not interested in the campaign. In his neighborhood, it did not happen much. She believes that she has been misinformed. " I did not see the candidates' programs. It's hard to know what they want to do. Frankly, I do not really know who to vote for. The only one I know is Ghazouani. Others, I have trouble getting an idea. "

In Nouakchott and the rest of the country , areas have been totally forgotten from the countryside. It is difficult then for his young first-time voters to get an enlightened opinion on this election. For many, Saturday, we will vote like the rest of the family, with a hope all the same, that with a new president will come time for the long-awaited change.

    On the same subject

    Presidential election in Mauritania: funny campaign in the streets of Nouakchott

    Presidential election in Mauritania: final straight and last meetings

    Mauritania: the results of the presidential campaign


    Source: rfi

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