conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Mauritania

conventional short form: Mauritania

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah

local short form: Muritaniyah

etymology: named for the ancient kingdom of Mauretania (3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.) and the subsequent Roman province (1st-7th centuries A.D.), which existed further north in present-day Morocco; the name derives from the Mauri (Moors), the Berber-speaking peoples of northwest Africa
Government type

presidential republic
Capital

name: Nouakchott

geographic coordinates: 18 04 N, 15 58 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: may derive from the Berber "nawakshut" meaning "place of the winds"
Administrative divisions

15 regions (wilayas, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Inchiri, Nouakchott Nord, Nouakchott Ouest, Nouakchott Sud, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza
Independence

28 November 1960 (from France)
National holiday

Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Constitution

history: previous 1964; latest adopted 12 July 1991

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by Parliament; consideration of amendments by Parliament requires approval of at least one third of the membership; a referendum is held only if the amendment is approved by two-thirds majority vote; passage by referendum requires simple majority vote by eligible voters; passage of amendments proposed by the president can bypass a referendum if approved by at least three-fifths majority vote by Parliament; amended 2006, 2012, 2017
Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic and French civil law
International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Mauritania

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage

18 years of age; universal


Executive branch

chief of state: President Mohamed Ould Cheikh el GHAZOUANI (since 1 August 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed Ould BILAL (since 6 August 2020)

cabinet: Council of Ministers - nominees suggested by the prime minister, appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 June 2019 (next to be held on 22 June 2024); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: 2019: Mohamed Ould Cheikh El GHAZOUANI elected president in first round; percent of vote - Mahamed Ould Cheikh El GHAZOUANI (UPR) 52%, Biram Dah Ould ABEID (independent) 18.6%, Sidi Mohamed Ould BOUBACAR (independent) 17.9%, other 11.5%

2014: Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ elected president in first round; percent of vote - Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ (UPR) 81.9%, Biram Dah ABEID (IRA) 8.7%, Boidiel Ould HOUMEIT (El Wiam) 4.5%, Ibrahima Moctar SARR (SJD/MR) 4.4%, other 0.5%


Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Barlamane consists of the National Assembly or Al Jamiya Al Wataniya (157 seats statutory, 153 current term; 113 members in single- and multi-seat constituencies directly elected by a combination of plurality and proportional representation voting systems, 40 members in a single, nationwide constituency directly elected by proportional representation vote (20 seats are reserved for women candidates in the nationwide constituency) , and 4 members directly elected by the diaspora; all members serve 5-year terms)

elections: first held as the unicameral National Assembly in 2 rounds on 1 and 15 September 2018 (next to be held in 2023)

election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UPR 95, Tawassoul 14, UDP 6, El Karama 6, AND 4, PUCM 4, RFD 3, UFP 3, Shura Party for Development 3, Burst of Youth for the Nation 3, SAWAB 3, APP 3, DIL 2, El Wiam 2, AJD/MR 2, Coalition of Wava Mauritanian Party 1, El Ghad 1, National Democratic Union 1, Ravah Party 1, Party of Peace and Democratic Progress 1, El Islah 1; composition - men, 122, women 31, percent of women 20.3%

note: a referendum held in August 2017 approved a constitutional amendment to change the Parliament structure from bicameral to unicameral by abolishing the Senate and creating Regional Councils for local development
Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (subdivided into 7 chambers: 2 civil, 2 labor, 1 commercial, 1 administrative, and 1 criminal, each with a chamber president and 2 councilors ); Constitutional Council (consists of 9 members); High Court of Justice (consists of 9 members)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the president of the republic to serve a 5-year renewable term; Constitutional Council members appointed - 3 by the president of the republic, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, 1 by the prime minister, 1 by the leader of the democratic opposition, 1 by the largest opposition party in the National Assembly, and 1 by the second largest party in the National Assembly; members serve single, 9-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 3 years; High Court of Justice members appointed by Parliament - 6 by the ruling Coalition of Majority Parties and 3 by opposition parties

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; courts of first instance or wilya courts are established in the regions' headquarters and include commercial and labor courts, criminal courts, Moughataa (district) Courts, and informal/customary courts.


Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renewal or AJD/MR [Ibrahima Moctar SARR]
Burst of Youth for the Nation or Sursaut or PSJN [Lalla Mint CHERIF]
El Insaf or Equity Party [Mohamed Melainine Ould EYIH]
El Islah Party [Mohamed Ould TALEBNA]
El Karama Party [Cheikhna Ould Mohamed Ould HAJBOU]
Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement or IRA [Biram Dah ABEID]
National Democratic Alliance or AND [Yacoub Ould MOINE]
National Rally for Reform and Development or RNRD or TAWASSOUL [Mohamed Mahmoud Ould SEYIDI]
Party for Conciliation and Prosperity or HIWAR [Valle Mint Mini]
Popular (or People's) Progressive Alliance or APP [Messaoud Ould BOULKHEIR]
Rally (or Assembly) of Democratic Forces or RFD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH]
Sawab Party [Ahmed Salem Ould HORMA]
Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]
Union of the Forces of Progress or UFP [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]