By Mohamed al-Bakay
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has appointed a new member to the country’s official electoral commission in advance of parliamentary and municipal polls slated for Sept. 1.
On Thursday evening, Mohamed Fal Ould Bilal was officially appointed to the commission, replacing Didi Ould Bounama, who recently resigned from the post for health reasons.
Known to be close to some opposition parties, Ould Bilal previously served as foreign minister and has held ambassadorial posts in a number of countries.
Mauritania’s electoral commission consists of 11 members, including officials from Ould Abdel Aziz’s ruling Union for the Republic party, opposition figures and independents.
Earlier Thursday, the leaders of 17 Mauritanian political parties called for the electoral commission to be dissolved and replaced with a new one.
Party leaders say the commission was drawn up without consultation with the country’s main opposition forces.
Mauritania is set to hold parliamentary and municipal elections on Sept. 1.
While some opposition figures have questioned the integrity of the electoral process, the government insists that all steps have been taken to ensure “free and transparent” polls.