Mauritanian president easily wins re-election

Electoral commission says President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz won with nearly 82 percent of the vote.

    Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has been a staunch ally of the West in the fight against al-Qaeda [AP]
    Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has been a staunch ally of the West in the fight against al-Qaeda [AP]

    The Mauritanian president has won re-election, electoral commission announced, in a vote that the major opposition parties boycotted.

    The commission on Sunday night said that President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz won nearly 82 percent of the vote, while the closest candidate took only about 8 percent.

    A group of the West African country's major opposition parties refused to participate in Saturday's election, calling it a sham, and Aziz had been expected to win.

    The boycott appeared to dampen turnout, which, at 56 percent, was lower than in the last presidential vote.

    Aziz has been a staunch ally of the West in the fight against al-Qaeda-linked fighters in West Africa.

    The president's four rivals in the poll were former government minister Boidel Ould Houmeid; Ibrahima Sarr, a challenger from the 2009 vote; Mint Moulaye Idriss, an administrator at Mauritania's national press agency and the only woman in the race; and anti-slavery campaigner Biram Ould Abeid.

    Mauritania has reserves of iron ore, copper and gold and is trying to boost investor interest in its oil and gas. However, it has long been plagued by political instability and military coups.

    Abdel Aziz came to power in August 2008 when he ousted President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdellahi, the country's
    first democratically elected president, whose short stint as leader was undone by fighting within his own party.

    He then won a 5-year term in a 2009 poll that was heavily criticised by the opposition, some of whom still do not recognise the legitimacy of his election.

    Western nations soon re-engaged with Mauritania's military, which has taken a strong stand against armed groups in the
    country and neighbouring Mali.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.