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Mauritania’s ruling party candidate has won the
first democratic transition of power since independence in 1960.
Mohamed Ahmed Oudl Ghazouani, a close ally of outgoing President Mohamed
Ould Abdel Aziz, won with 52% of votes.
Four of the opposition candidates have rejected the results, which are
expected to be submitted to the constitutional council for validation.
Among them was the nearest rival, anti-slavery campaigner Biram Dah Abeid,
who gained 18.5% of votes.
“This seems like a coup d’etat,” said Mr Abeid, adding that those
contesting the results were “united”.
BBC West Africa correspondent Louise Dewast said the electoral commission
has repeatedly rejected allegations that they are biased in favour of the
governing party and said the vote had gone smoothly.
Although largely peaceful, there were some protests earlier on Sunday in
On Friday, Mauritania’s press authority said it had received no complaints
about the coverage of the campaign.
The outgoing president stepped aside after two five-year terms leading the
mainly desert country with a population of less than five million.
Under his leadership the economy has grown but the issue of slavery
persists. Mauritania became the final country in the world to formally abolish
slavery in 1981, but according to human rights groups, tens of thousands of
black Mauritanians are forced into domestic slavery by people of Arab or Berber
Criminal laws allowing slaveholders to be prosecuted were passed in 2007,
but have yet to be fully and effectively enforced.
After Mauritania achieved independence from France in 1960, the country’s
first president held power for 18 years before being ousted in a military coup.
More coups followed in 1984, 2005 and 2008.