Mauritania votes to abolish Senate, change national flag
Mauritania's lawmakers voted Thursday to get rid of the parliament's upper chamber, and alter the country's flag to better represent those who battled for independence from France.
Lawmakers in the lower house of the west African Islamic republic passed a contentious constitutional amendment package by 121 votes to 19 including the measures.
The changes will now be considered by the Senate, where the government also has a majority, meaning the body will have to vote on its own abolition and replacement by regional councils.
The government has a majority in both chambers.
Those who fought for freedom from colonial master France will be represented on a new flag by a red band at the top and bottom of the country's green national banner, representing blood spilt for their nation.
Mauritania won independence in 1960.
The current green flag with a crescent and star symbolises the importance of Islam in the conservative republic, but lawmakers from the ruling majority felt the nation's independence struggle was not adequately represented.