Mauritania’s President Ghazouani leads in presidential election

President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani won 55.7 percent with more than 91 percent of votes counted, electoral commision website shows.

Mauritania's former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
Mauritania's former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz waits for the arrival of the French president at Nouakchott airport, Mauritania [File: Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters]

Mauritania’s incumbent Mohamed Ould Ghazouani holds an unassailable lead in the country’s presidential election with more than 91 percent of the votes counted, provisional results showed.

Ghazouani, a 67-year-old former army chief of staff and defence minister who is widely expected to win the race in the first round, had 55.72 percent of the vote, the tallies on the electoral commission Ceni’s website showed as of 14:40 GMT on Sunday.

The results from 4,068 polling stations out of the total 4,503 showed that his main rival, anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid, was at 22.46 percent, while Hamadi Sidi El Mokhtar of the Islamist Tewassoul party was third with 13 percent.

Abeid said that he would not recognise the results of “Ghazouani’s Ceni”.

“We will only recognise our own results, and therefore we will take to the streets” to refuse the electoral commission count, he said, although he insisted their response would be “peaceful”.

El Mokhtar said he would “remain attentive” to any breach of voting regulations.

Preliminary figures showed the turnout at Saturday’s vote was just under 55 percent, the commission said.

Relative stability

Ghazouani has presided over a period of relative stability since 2019, as Mauritania’s Sahel neighbours, including Mali, struggle with violence with the rise of armed groups that have led to military coups.

Mauritania has not recorded an attack on its soil in recent years and Ghazouani, who currently chairs the African Union, has promised to manage threats from such groups.

In the last election, some opposition candidates questioned the credibility of the vote, prompting some small-scale protests.

The African Union has sent a team of 27 short-term observers, while the European Union has sent three election experts.

The Mauritanian government has set up a national election monitoring body, which the opposition has denounced as a tool for manipulating the ballot.

Official results were set to be announced late on Sunday or Monday.

Source: News Agencies