Ely Ould Mohamed Vall
Ely Ould Mohamed Vall is an African statesman hailed for his role in the transition of Mauritania from military rule to democracy. He served as the transitional leader of Mauritania following a coup d'état in August 2005 until 19 April 2007, when he relinquished power to an elected government.
Ely Ould Mohamed Vall was a long-time ally of President Maaouya Ould Taya. On 3 August 2005, Taya was ousted in a bloodless military coup while he was out of the country. A group of officers took power as the Military Council for Justice and Democracy and announced that Vall was the head of the council. He did not take the title of President because he said it should be reserved for elected leaders.
The new regime, condemning Ould Taya's government as totalitarian, promised to lead the country to elections and the restoration of civilian rule within two years; a referendum on a new constitution was planned to be held within a year, with parliamentary and presidential elections to follow. Vall and the other members of the military council agreed not to run for president.
The constitutional referendum was held on June 25, 2006 and approved by 97% of voters. The 2006 constitution limits presidents to two five-year terms and requires a president to swear not to change the term limits. Vall toured the country beforehand to promote it and called it a "historical opportunity". Parliamentary and local elections were held on November 19, 2006, which Vall praised as "the first time Mauritanians have been able to express themselves freely"; he also said that the difficulty of changing the constitution would preserve democracy in the future.
Ely Ould Mohamed Vall announced that he would step down after the March 2007 presidential election and kept his promise, successfully completing the transition to civilian democratic rule.
President Vall is a Board member of the Arab Democracy Foundation.
Read President Vall’s speech at the Aladdin Project’s launch conference