Mohamed Ould Ghazouani has won Mauritania’s presidential election with an absolute majority. It was the first time Mauritanians voted to elect a successor to a democratically elected president in the West African state.
Mauritania’s ruling party candidate Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, a former general and defense minister, won the country’s presidential election with 52% of the vote, the electoral commission announced Sunday.
Ghazouani’s nearest rival, prominent anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid, came in second with 18.58% of the vote. Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, who is backed by the country’s biggest Islamist party, came in third with 17.87%.
As Ghazouani won an absolute majority in the first round of the presidential election, the top two contenders will not face off in a runoff election.
Earlier on Sunday, Ghazouani declared himself the winner of the Saturday polls. Mauritania’s government also declared victory for the former general and congratulated him.
Opposition candidates reject results
Speaking at a news conference with three other candidates, Boubacar said that “multiple irregularities eliminated any credibility” of the election in the West African desert nation.
“We reject the results of the election and we consider that they in no way express the will of the Mauritanian people,” he said, vowing that the opposition would use “every legal means” to challenge them.
Opposition candidates had earlier said they would contest the results if the ruling party won the first round of the election outright.
“This seems like a coup d’etat,” Abeid said at a press conference, representing himself and the other opposition leaders. “We are united and will lead the contestation [of the results].”
Currency: Mauritanian ouguiya