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Mauritania's president Abdel Aziz wins another term in disputed elections

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Mauritania's president Abdel Aziz wins another term in disputed elections


Mauritania’s president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has won another term after getting more than 80 percent of the vote.

The former army general, who is backed by the West, has led two military coups that toppled elected presidents.

Most opposition parties refused to take part, describing it an “electoral masquerade.”

Burt one candidate, former slave Bairam el Obaid who has fought to abolish slavery in the country, won a surprising 10 percent

Slavery was abolished in the country in 1981 and criminalised in 2007, but around 20 percent of Mauritanian’s population is estimated to be enslaved.

Al Obeid described the situation in the country, saying: “There is a confrontation between the dominant ideology amongst the dominant groups and their interests and those who represent their interests, and a large part of the population who are oppressed with slavery, racism and all kinds of discrimination.”

Euronews correspondent in Mauritania, Riad Muasses, says that el Obaid has got most of his support from poorer neighbourhoods and that for an opposition candidate to get ten percent of the vote like this reflects a new phenomenon in Mauritania.

The country’s highest court still has to validate the results. Voter turnout was just over 56 percent, lower than the last elections in 2009.

Mahamad Mahmoud Lamat, vice president of the opposition coalition dismissed the outcome, saying: “These results, such as they are, give no credibility whatsoever to this regime.”

Abdel Aziz is seen as an ally by Western powers in the fight against al-Qaeda-linked Islamists in West Africa

African Union election observers said voting took place peacefully and urged the government and opposition to continue political dialogue after the election.

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