The first fully democratic Presidential election since 1960 occurred on 11 March 2007. The election was the final transfer from military to civilian rule following the military coup in 2005. This was the first time the president was selected by ballot in the country's history. The election was won by Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who was ousted by a military coup in 2008 and replaced by general Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
Personalities have long exercised an important influence in the politics of Mauritania - the effective exercise of political power in the country depends on control over resources; perceived ability or integrity; and tribal, ethnic, family, and personal considerations. Conflict between white Moor, black Moor, and non-Moor ethnic groups, centering on language, land tenure, and other issues, continues to pose challenges to the idea of national unity.
The government bureaucracy comprises traditional ministries, special agencies, and parast