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Mauritania, Government

A 1961 constitution, promulgated soon after Mauritania became an independent republic, was suspended in 1978 following a coup d’etat. Subsequently, legislative and executive power was vested in what became known as the Military Committee for National Salvation. The committee was headed by a chairman, who served as president of the country, and included 23 other permanent members in the late 1980s. A council of ministers, appointed by the committee, consisted of 22 members and included the prime minister. A new constitution approved by referendum in July 1991 declares Mauritania to be an “Islamic, African, and Arab republic.” The constitution provides for an executive president, elected for a six-year term, and for a bicameral legislature, consisting of a national assembly and a senate.

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