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Mohamed Ould Ghazouani Wins Re-Election in Mauritania with Over 56% of the Vote

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani has been re-elected for a second term in office with over 56% of the vote in the presidential election held on June 29, 2024. His main rival, anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid came in second place with 22% of the votes followed by other candidates from various political backgrounds.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani Wins Re-Election in Mauritania with Over 56% of the Vote

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The election saw a turnout of around 55% of the two million eligible voters. This participation rate is relatively modest.

The main opposition candidate, Biram Dah Abeid, an anti-slavery activist gained 22% of the vote, while Hamadi Sidi el-Mokhtar of the Islamist Tewassoul party came third with 13%.

The provisional results were announced by Mauritania’s independent electoral commission on Sunday, June 30, 2024.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani won the presidential election with 56.12% of the vote based on results from 4,468 out of 4,503 polling stations.

Biram Dah Abeid, an anti-slavery activist, secured 22.10% of the votes positioning him as the main opposition.

Hamadi Sidi El Mokhtar of the Islamist Tewassoul party came in third with 12.76%. Other candidates included El-Aid Ould Mohamedan with 3.57%, Mamadou Boukari with 2.39%, Atouma Soumare with 2.06% and Mohamed Lemine El Mourtaji El Wafi with 1%.

The electoral commission reported a voter turnout of just under 55.33%, indicating moderate electoral participation among the 1.9 million registered voters in a population of approximately 4.5 million.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, a 67-year-old former army chief of staff and defense minister was first elected in 2019.

His presidency has been characterized by a focus on economic growth and political stability with promises to boost investment and leverage the upcoming natural gas production to fuel a commodities boom.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani has pledged to prioritize economic development in the energy sector with Mauritania set to commence natural gas production by the end of the year.

His administration has also addressed youth employment and investment in infrastructure to support sustainable growth in a nation where nearly three-quarters of the population are under 35.

Biram Dah Abeid rejected the provisional results alleging electoral fraud and irregularities. Abeid announced his refusal to accept the results from the official electoral commission, instead planning to rely on his own commission to proclaim the results.

Hamadi Sidi El Mokhtar also expressed concerns about rigging and warned of non-acceptance if irregularities were detected.

The 2019 election saw similar disputes with some opposition candidates questioning the credibility of the vote and small-scale protests.

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The African Union (AU) deployed a team of 27 short-term observers to monitor the election process. The European Union (EU) also sent three election experts to oversee the proceedings.

Biram Dah Abeid has rejected the provisional results labeling them as an “electoral coup” and alleging fraud.

He announced plans to use his own electoral commission to proclaim alternative results and called for civil disobedience against the perceived injustice.

Since his first election five years ago, Ghazouani has been credited with establishing a degree of stability in a country historically plagued by political unrest and frequent coups.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani has maintained alliances with Western countries such as France and the United States, while also navigating relationships with junta-led neighbors like Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

Mauritania, rich in natural resources including iron ore, copper and oil, is on the cusp of becoming a gas producer with the upcoming launch of the BP-operated Greater Tortue Ahmeyin offshore gas project.

The country struggles with poverty, with nearly 60% of the population living below the poverty line.

The election was conducted peacefully, with no major incidents reported on voting day. Observers from the African Union noted that the process went smoothly, although they have yet to release their final assessment.

CENI, which managed the election is comprised of representatives from various political parties with its president appointed by the government.

This structure has led to accusations of bias and collusion with the current regime particularly from opposition candidates.

Abeid and other opposition figures have voiced strong objections to the conduct and results of the election alleging irregularities and fraud.

These claims have led to calls for protests and potential unrest with Abeid urging the military and security forces not to be complicit in supporting the government against the populace.

Mauritania has a history of political instability by several coups between 1978 and 2008. The 2019 election that brought Mohamed Ould Ghazouani to power was significant as it is the first peaceful transfer of power between elected presidents since Mauritania’s independence from France in 1960.

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