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Title:To 'midwife' - and abort - a democracy: Mauritania's transition from military rule, 2005-2008
Author:N'Diaye, BoubacarISNI
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:Mauritania
Subjects:political change
coups d'état
civil-military relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/30224926
Abstract:The 3 August 2005 military coup was Mauritania's best opportunity to turn the page on decades of the deposed quasi-military regime's destructive politics. This article critically analyses relevant aspects of the transition that ensued in the context of the prevailing models of military withdrawal from politics in Africa. It also examines the challenges that Mauritania's short-lived Third Republic faced. It argues that the transition process did not escape the well-known African military junta leader's proclivity to manipulate transitions to fulfil suddenly awakened self-seeking political ambitions, in violation of solemn promises. While there was no old-fashioned ballot stuffing to decide the outcome of the 2006 elections, Mauritania's junta leader and his lieutenants spared no effort to keep the military very much involved in politics, and to perpetuate a strong sense of entitlement to political power. Originally designed as an ingenious 'delayed self-succession' of sorts, in the end, another coup (6 October 2008) aborted Mauritania's democratization process and threw its institutions into a tailspin. This only exacerbated the challenges that have saddled Mauritania's political system and society for decades - unhealthy civil-military relations, a dismal 'human rights deficit', terrorism, and a neopatrimonial, disastrously mismanaged economy. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]