President of Mauritania Mohamed Ghazouani Elected New African Union Chairman


The President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ghazouani, has been elected as the new chairman of the African Union (AU) for the year 2024.

He was elected during the  37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union  Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ghazouani takes the baton of leadership from President Azali Assoumani of the Union of Comoros, who served as the AU Chairperson for 2023.

The bloc managed to avoid a crisis on another front by defusing tensions over the one-year rotating AU chairmanship, which was transferred Saturday from Comoros President Azali Assoumani to Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.

Both Morocco and Algeria, considered major funders of AU were fighting for the seat.

Assoumani from the Eastern Africa region took over the baton of command from Macky Sall of Senegal in February 2023.

Angola is seeking the post in 2025.

A candidate must be selected by consensus or at least a two-thirds majority vote by member states.

The chairperson is expected to complete the term without interruption.

Countries with impending elections are ineligible to contest.

The incumbent chairs the biannual summit meetings of the assembly and represents the continent in various international forums such as G7, TICAD, FOCAC and G20 summits.

They also assist in resolving crises on the continent as an elder statesman.

The position is distinct from that of the AU Commission.

It has been suggested that liaison offices be established to prevent friction between the incumbent and the commission chairperson.

In 2008, following Kenya’s post-election crisis, AU Chairman Jakaya Kikwete was instrumental in facilitating the opposing sides to agree to a Government of National Unity.

Kikwete also backed the invasion of Anjouan by sending an AU Force to assist the Comoros federal government in removing renegade leader Mohamed Bacar.

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