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Mauritania PM Reshuffles Cabinet - 2003-11-14


The Mauritanian prime minister has reshuffled the government, adding a woman and younger ministers to the Cabinet. The new line-up follows last week's presidential election.

Prime Minister Sghair Ould M'Bareck was reappointed by the president earlier this week. Most of the eight newcomers to his Cabinet were key players in President Maaouiya Ahmed Ould Taya's re-election campaign, and represent a younger face of the ruling party.

However, despite the fresh blood, many of the key positions, including ministers for interior, justice and finance, remain with the old party faithfuls. The new woman minister is Salka Mint Bilal, who will be in charge of public service and employment.

The November 7 presidential election returned President Taya to office for the third time, with 67 percent of the votes cast. The elections were marred by accusations of widespread vote-rigging.

Mr. Taya's main rival in the campaign, former military ruler Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidallah, was jailed right after the election and remains imprisoned.

He has been charged with plotting to overthrow the government. His supporters deny the allegations and accuse the government of seeking to crush the opposition.

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