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Mauritania's Political System

Following the 1991 constitution, Mauritania is a presidential, unified state and formally multi-party republic. The president is both head of state, head of government and military commander, and is elected in the general election for six years. Legislative power has been added to a Senate and a National Assembly. The Senate is elected for six years by local leaders, but so that part of the seats is renewed every two years; it has 56 seats. The National Assembly is elected in the general election for five years; it has 81 members. It is a separate constitutional council and a supreme Islamic council; moreover, an economic and social council.

Government and Politics of Mauritania

Although the constitution was formally democratized in 1991, the country's authoritarian traditions have a bearing on politics. Since independence in 1960, politics has been a source of tension, both in relation to neighboring countries and between the ruling Arab groups and the African groups in the country. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of MR and its meanings of Mauritania.


Administratively, the country is divided into 13 regions, including the metropolitan area, and these again in 208 districts. The regions are led by state governors. Selected advice has been introduced, but locally, tribal structures and traditional loyalties still play a major role.

The judiciary is based on both Islamic and French law. Shari'a law was introduced in 1980. A special Islamic court was established this year. Otherwise, the courts include a Supreme Court, a magistrate's court with six regional departments, as well as civil courts and labor courts.

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