48 lawmakers resign from ruling party in Mauritania

August 6, 2008 - 0:0

NOUAKCHOTT (AFP) -- Forty-eight members of Mauritania's parliament announced Monday that they were resigning from the ruling party to form a new political group, a spokesman said.

The declaration of the mass resignation was signed by 25 deputies and 23 senators of the ruling party, the National Pact for Democracy and Development, or PNDD.
They criticized the exercise of ""personal power"" by President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, saying he had ""disappointed the hopes of Mauritanians,"" said a spokesman for the rebellious lawmakers, Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham.
""The democratic process has been diverted from its normal course,"" he said, pointing to the ""misappropriation of public funds"".
He called on other members of the PNDD to join them in forming a new party.
With the mass exodus from the PNDD it will no longer have a majority in parliament although it will remain the biggest single party.
The PNDD called for party members to close rank and show unity to overcome ""the political crises and turbulence with courage, wisdom and determination,"" it said in a statement drafted before the announcement of the mass resignations.
The Mauritanian president last month threatened to dissolve parliament after the rebellious lawmakers had filed a motion of no confidence in its new government, which then resigned.
Recently, they tried to call a special session of parliament to create a commission to investigate the country's response the rising cost of living, and also the financing of a foundation run by the president's wife.