Mauritania set for landmark poll

Mauritanians to elect president on Sunday from a field of 19 candidates.

     Ely Ould Mohamed Vall assumed power in a coup in 2005 [EPA]

    "This is the moment when Mauritanians will come of age," he said.




    About 2,400 polling stations will open between 7:00am (0700 GMT) and 7:00pm (1900 GMT) and voting is to be observed by some 300  international poll watchers.


    A record 19 candidates jostling for the country's top job have ended their two-week campaigns which passed off peacefully.


    "The campaign went by in absolute calm and without the slightest  of incidents," Vall said.


    The vote is the final stage in a transition of the country to civilian democracy after the coup ended 20 years of dictatorship under Ould Taya.


    The junta promised to return the country to democracy and step down after the 19-month transition and barred its members from standing for political office to guarantee transparency.


    It has so far organised a constitutional referendum plus local  government and legislative elections.


    Power has never before changed hands through elections in the former French colony, whose history has been chequered by some dozen  coups and military takeovers since independence in 1960.


    If no single candidate garners 50 per cent of the votes cast, the  election will go to a second round on March 25.

    SOURCE: Agencies


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.