Mauritania’s ruling party candidate wins presidential election despite an appeal

Mauritania’s constitutional council has confirmed Mohamed Ould Ghazouani as the country’s president-elect, dismissing an appeal of alleged voting irregularities in the election which held on June 22.

“The candidate Mohamed Ould Cheikh Lohaled Ahmed Ould Ghazwani is proclaimed president, having acquired an absolute majority in the first round,” said Haimond Ba, a council member.

Three runner-up candidates – Biram Dah Abeid, Mohamed Ould Boubacar and Mohamed Ould Maouloud – filed the appeal with the council on 25 June, alleging that the results of the country’s first democratic elections were invalid. The opposition stated that there were fraudulent activities during the election and that the poll percentages were impossible.

From the opposition’s analysis, Ghazouani could not have won more than 48.5 percent of the vote, a number below Mauritania’s 50 percent requirement. However, despite all their allegations, Mauritania’s constitutional council asserted that there was insufficient evidence and Ghazouani is the rightfully elected president.

After his inauguration, on August 1, Ould Ghazouania will serve a five-year term and this may be the first peaceful transfer of power between elected heads of state since Mauritania won its independence from France in 1960,

Former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who was barred from seeking a third term under Mauritania’s constitution, he hand-picked his successor
Ghazouani. However, Ghazouani’s victory is the latest phase of control by a ruling cabal, comprising of military officers and businessmen whose influence dates back to the 1980s.