Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya

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Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya (Arabic: معاوية ولد سيد أحمد الطايع) (b. 1941), also transliterated as Mu'awiya walad Sayyidi Ahmad Taya, was president of Mauritania from 1984 to 2005.

Early Years

Born in the town of Atar (Adrar Region), Ould Taya attended a Franco-Arabic Primary School from 1949 to 1955. He then attended Rosso High School in southern Mauritania. After graduation, he attended a French military school in 1960 and graduated as an officer. In 1975, he received strategic training at the French War Academy.


Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya and François Mitterrand, December 14th, 1993 in Paris
Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya and François Mitterrand, December 14th, 1993 in Paris

After holding various positions in the military, Ould Taya was appointed Chief of Staff of the Army in January 1981. He then served as Prime Minister from 25 April 1981 to 8 March 1984, when the country was ruled by the military. He deposed the military head of state, Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, on 12 December 1984 and declared himself Chairman of the Military Committee for National Salvation.

His government has had a history of discriminating against it's own citizens based on skin color, as usual, abusing the darker skinned Mauritanian's for no other reason than that their skin is black. Mauritania's government under Ould Taya continued racist campaigns against southerners he described as black Africans (as opposed to Arab Moors).

Following a period of political liberalization, the first multiparty presidential elections were held in 1992. Ould Taya, candidate of the newly formed Democratic and Social Republican Party (PRDS), received 62.8% of the vote amid opposition claims of serious irregularities and fraud. He won over 90% of the vote in a 1997 presidential election that was boycotted by major opposition political parties. Black Africans were discouraged from voting due to their opposition to the racist rhetoric he espoused.

In June 2003 he survived a coup attempt. On 7 November new elections were held, which were won by Ould Taya with 67.02% of the vote. The opposition again denounced the result as fraudulent. Ould Taya quelled another coup attempt on the eve of a planned trip to France in August 2004.

While he was out of the country for the funeral of Saudi king Fahd in early August 2005, soldiers seized state media. [1] The group, which identified itself as the Military Council for Justice and Democracy, announced a coup in a statement run by the state news agency on August 3: (translated) “The armed forces and security forces have unanimously decided to put an end to the totalitarian practices of the deposed regime under which our people have suffered much over the last several years,” the statement said. The military dictatorship said it would remain in power for two years to allow time for democratic institutions to be implemented. The Military Council for Justice and Democracy has named Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall as the new President of Mauritania. Just after the coup President Ould Taya flew to Niger's capital, Niamey. He met Niger's president Mamadou Tandja before travelling on to a villa in Niamey.

Ould Taya left Niger for Banjul, Gambia on August 9. He and his family then flew to Qatar on August 22.

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Preceded by:
Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla
President of Mauritania
Succeeded by:
Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall
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