Mauritanian Islamists “A Comprehensive Enhancement Project for the Presidency”

Mauritanian Islamists “A Comprehensive Enhancement Project for the Presidency”

Mohamed Jamil Weld-Mansour of the Islamic Movement has rejected allegations claiming that the reason there was division among the opposition”s coalition was his candidacy for the presidential elections. “We were the last to decide, especially as our colleagues from the opposition had already had their candidates running before we had actually chosen our candidate” He pointed out that the situation now in Mauritania makes it possible for all parties to present their candidates. Weld also added that they participated in this election as independents from any alliances.

In a telephone call with the MP and opposition leader stressed that the National Rally for Reform and Development (TAWASOL) was working now through specialized committees, on preparing a detailed programme that includes a “clear vision of a comprehensive enhancing and political project” based on three main pillars including Islamic reference, national belonging and democratic choice.

On the stance of the rest of the spectra of the Islamic Movement in regards to his candidacy, Weld viewed that most Islamists in Mauritania, especially Salafis did not engage in any political activities but hoped there could be positive coordination with Salafis. Some steps have in fact been taken in this regard where he added “we hope we can achieve pleasing results in the upcoming elections”. Because of limited resources there will be much dependence on the strength of the Islamic Movement within the Mauritanian society with its distinguished rhetoric through which people could relate.

The candidacy of Weld Mansour came after long discussions between the first Islamic parties in Mauritania after about twenty years of prohibition.

The national council of TAWASOL discussed the options of the party for the presidential elections and it had a number of proposals among it: choosing a candidate from the party or supporting one of the declared candidates since this is the first time the Islamic Movement chose one of its members to stand for the presidency elections after it had only supported candidates or participated in the provincial and parliamentary elections.
According to observers, The Islamists have great and active electoral power in Mauritania which makes them favourable in achieving good results in the presidential elections. They also have control over the fields of students and permanent presence in the fields of women in addition to the media campaign on websites both inside Mauritania and abroad.

Normally, the Islamic Movement in Mauritania is described as “moderate” in its political practices and proposals as it participates in politics through the legally permitted framework as well as working with all political parties available in the political arena.
Islamists took part in 2008 in establishing the “National Front for the Defence of Democracy” which is anti-coup, where they got involved with the political forces which formed a political and media campaign against the leaders of the Military Council before they expanded the coalition against the Military ruling to end  2009 by involving the Mauritanian opposition leader, Ahmed Weld Daddah in efforts to cancel the elections of the Military and move in the direction of a harmonious transitional period.

The Tawasol Party which had won legitimacy in 2007 is led by Weld Mansour and includes five MP”s and more than one hundred and fifty provincial chancellors from all over Mauritania. In May 2008, two of the party members joined the government formed by the deposed Weld Sheikh Abdullah, months before the coup.

Mohamed Jamil Weld Mansour is considered one of the most prominent leaders of the Islamic Movement (the school of the Muslim Brotherhood) where he has excellent relations both in Mauritania and abroad. He joined the union and began political work in the early 80″s as a freedom fighter along with other students with Islamists and many other political alliances. He also became a leader of a number of Islamic organizations such as “The initiative of Centralist Reformers”; he was later elected as head of Tawasol during its first and last conference since its establishment, with a majority in the party.