Mauritanians have voted to abolish their Senate and alter their national flag by referendum. The Electoral Commission announced a clear victory for President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz yesterday. As many as 53.73 per cent voters took part in the referendum and 85 percent of them said “Yes” to changes. The proposal to modify the constitution, in force since 1991, was rejected by the Senate in March, leading the President Aziz to call the referendum to push through the changes.
He came to power in a coup in 2008 and was elected in 2009 and again in 2014 for a second five-year term. The Mauritanian flag will now feature red bands added to the current green flag with yellow Islamic crescent and star, to honour the blood spilt by those who fought for freedom from colonial master France.
Meanwhile, Members of opposition parties spearheading the referendum boycott held a press conference yesterday. They termed the vote as an electoral farce and rejected the constitutional amendments. Around 20 Senators said they will gather today to consider their next course of action.