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Mauritania’s planned referendum a coup – opposition

The majority of Mauritania’s opposition under the umbrella National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU) have dismissed as a coup, a constitutional referendum announced by President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz late on Wednesday.In a press conference in Nouakchott on Friday, the FNDU, which consists of a dozen political parties and a number of trade unions and civil society organizations, considered the referendum as illegal.

Proposed by the government, the amendments in question were on 17 March rejected by the ruling party –dominated Senate.

However, they were approved by the National Assembly on 9 March with a majority of more than 80 percent.

In his address to the nation on Wednesday, President Ould Abdel Aziz stressed that Article 38 of the constitution will be activated to implement the will of the majority of the people.

He did not set a date for the referendum.

During their press conference, the leaders of the FNDU warned of “very serious consequences” resulting from holding the referendum.

They vowed to oppose it by all peaceful means.

The amendments deal with the abolition of the Senate and its replacement with regional councils, and the modification of the national flag and anthem.

They resulted from talks last October between the presidential majority and the moderate opposition, which were snubbed by the FNDU.

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