Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who overthrew an elected government in Mauritania nearly a year ago, has himself claimed victory in the new election held July 18—but four opposing candidates rejected the result. By Interior Ministry figures, Abdel Aziz won the election by 52.6%, or 409,100 votes. Rival candidates Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, Ahmed Ould Daddah, Ely Ould Mohamed Vall and Hamady Ould Meimou rejected the results in a joint declaration at a press conference as the results were announced the day after the vote.
Abdel Aziz presented himself as the defender of the poor and promised to bring “constructive change”—despite leading a military junta that has ruled Mauritania since last August’s coup d’etat. The election was monitored by 250 observers from the African Union, European Union, and the Arab League. (AllAfrica.com, July 20)