Voters in Mauritania head to the polls Saturday to vote in presidential elections, widely expected to return President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to office. But the opposition remains hopeful. Mauritanians have a choice of five presidential candidates, including incumbent President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. His two main challengers are a prominent anti-slavery activist and the country’s second-ever female presidential candidate, both running as independents. Boydiel Ould Houmied, a member of a loyalist-backed party of former president Maawiya Ould Taya, and Ibrahim Moctar Sarr, a Black African who won five percent of the vote in the 2009 election, are also contenders. The country’s leading opposition coalition is boycotting the poll, claiming a lack of transparency and vote-rigging.Aziz, a former army general who took power during a 2008 military coup, was officially elected in 2009. He is running on the platform that Mauritania is a better place today than it was before he took office. He said the country was more safe today than five years ago, there were no more terrorist cells and there are no political prisoners, “so this means that we have democracy.”
Aziz is considered by many Western countries to be a key ally in the fight against al-Qaida-linked terrorists in the region. He has also claimed responsibility for the country’s recent economic growth.
Full Article: Mauritania to Vote for Next President.