Monday, March 12, 2007

Mauritania votes

Mauritania went to the polls yesterday in what are being billed as the first real elections since independence in 1960. There probably won't be any results until tomorrow, and it is likely that no candidate will win an outright majority, meaning that there will be a runoff election later in the month, but merely holding free and fair elections in a country where previously they have been utter shams is a victory for democracy. But while its a victory, its not the whole war; democracy isn't just about electing governments, but also holding them accountable at the polls; the real challenge will come in five years time, when the next elections are scheduled to be held, to see whether Mauritanians can keep their democracy, or whether their leaders will turn it into a sham again.