By Mohamed Bakay
Mauritania's grand mufti on Tuesday -- the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday -- urged the country’s political parties to refrain from using “negative propaganda” in the run-up to Sept. 1 parliamentary and municipal polls.
In an Eid sermon delivered at Nouakchott’s Ibn Abbas Mosque, Ahmed Ould Lemrabet also called for the maintenance of stability in advance of next month’s election, campaigning for which kicked off last week.
“Electioneering behavior must conform to the rules of Islamic Law in both word and deed,” he said.
“Candidates should strive for reform with a view to serving their Muslim constituencies… and avoid bad thinking,” Ould Lemrabet added.
The current campaigning period will wrap up on the eve of the Sept. 1 poll, in which scores of political parties will vie for seats in the country’s 146-member unicameral parliament and on the country's many municipal councils.
For the first time, parties will also compete for seats on Mauritania’s 13 regional councils.
Some 1.4 million Mauritanians are registered to vote in the upcoming polls, according to official figures.
While opposition figures have questioned the integrity of the electoral process, the government -- led by the ruling Union for the Republic party -- insists that all steps have been taken to ensure “free and transparent” elections.