Former ruling general close to winning presidency in Mauritania | News -

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Mauritania's ruling party candidate Mohamed Ould El Ghazzouani is to issue the results of the presidential election on Saturday after 80 percent of the votes were counted. Mauritania's Independent National Electoral Commission announced early on Sunday (June 23, 2019) that Ghazzouani, the former defense minister, had won more than 50 percent of the vote so far.

In a statement issued by the Mauritanian Election Commission, Ould El-Ghazouani, supported by the majority parties, received 336,788 votes by 50.56 per cent. Sidi Mohamed Ould Boukbar, supported by the opposition Tawasir Islamic Party, received 122,726 votes, 18.43 per cent, While rights activist Biram Ould Dahab Abaid received 119,904 votes, 18 percent, while Hamidou Baba, candidate for "co-existence," received 59,105 votes, 8.87 percent.

Mauretanien Präsidentschaftswahlen (Getty Images / AFP / S. Kambou)

Electoral commissions in Mauritania have seen a strong turnout to elect a new president

The elections are the first in the country's history since independence from France in 1960, in which voters elect a successor to a democratically elected president. Mohamed Ould Ghazouani is a former general and if he wins officially he will succeed President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who leaves office after serving two five-year terms, the maximum for the presidency.

Even before the closing of the polling stations on Sunday evening, the spokesman for the Ghazwani told reporters that the former defense minister will win an explicit majority to avoid a run-off next month. "Our candidate will win a big victory," spokesman Sidi Ould Doman said.

Opposition candidates earlier complained of possible fraud, citing the absence of international observers and a company with links to the ruling party responsible for printing ballots.

Electoral authorities said there were no political considerations in awarding the card-printing contract.

(Reuters)

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