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Politics of Western Sahara

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Template:Politics of Western Sahara Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Western Sahara
former: Spanish Sahara

Data code: WI

Government type: legal status of territory and question of sovereignty unresolved; territory contested by Morocco and Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which in February 1976 formally proclaimed a government-in-exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR); territory partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania in April 1976, with Morocco acquiring northern two-thirds; Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979; Morocco moved to occupy that sector shortly thereafter and has since asserted administrative control; the Polisario's government-in-exile was seated as an OAU member in 1984; guerrilla activities continued sporadically, until a UN-monitored cease-fire was implemented September 6, 1991. The Moroccan Wall divides the area, with three quarters on the west controlled by Morocco, and one quarter on the east (which is almost uninhabited) controlled by Polisario (maps: [1] (http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/dpko/minurso.pdf), [2] (http://www.sahara-occidental.com/images/cartes/cartesop.gif), [3] (http://www.cidi.nl/img/isnbr/2004-nb1.jpg)).

Under a 2003 UN plan drawn up by James Baker, the Western Sahara would have immediate autonomy during a five-year transition period to prepare for a referendum, offering the inhabitants of the territory a choice between independence, autonomy within Morocco or complete integration with Morocco. Polisario has accepted the plan, but Morocco has rejected it.


Capital: none

Administrative divisions: none (under de facto control of Morocco)

Suffrage: none; a UN sponsored voter identification campaign has yet to be completed. The population participates in countrywide and regional moroccan elections.

Executive branch: none

International organization participation: none

See also

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