Last week’s coup in Mauritania by several army leaders has been denounced by Western and African nations. Neighboring Algeria even refused to meet with representatives of General Aziz and made clear it expected restoration of the government that was over thrown in a bloodless coup. Ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi had been the first person who was elected to office of president in West Africa without resort to violence or fraud. The coup leaders insist there had been fraud but the EU has made clear the election was honest and it is about time democracy ruled in west Africa.
Many political parties in Mauritania support the ousted president and have refused to cooperate with coup leaders. In a sense, the issue is not whether the ousted president had the best ideas, but he established a new principle that is so vital to the health of any democratic society– the rule of law requires those who gain a majority to assume office.