Mauritanians vote as Ghazouani seeks second term

Mauritanians will vote in a presidential election on Saturday, with incumbent Mohamed Ould Ghazouani facing six challengers.

Ghazouani, 67, a former top military officer, aims to boost investments to ignite a commodities boom in the country of 5 million, where many live in poverty despite abundant fossil fuel and mineral resources.

First elected in 2019, Ghazouani is expected to win due to the ruling party’s strength.

His opponents include anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid, lawyer Id Mohameden M’Bareck, economist Mohamed Lemine El Mourtaji El Wafi, and Hamadi Sidi El Mokhtar from the Islamist Tewassoul party.

Around 2 million people are registered to vote, with key issues being corruption and youth employment.

Ghazouani has promised a gas-fired power plant from the Greater Tortue Ahmeyin offshore gas project, renewable energy investments, and expanded mining operations. He has maintained stability in Mauritania, which has avoided militant attacks, unlike its Sahel neighbors.

Abeid criticizes Ghazouani’s human rights record, while El Mokhtar appeals to conservative voters. Despite some opposition, Ghazouani is likely to secure a second term, possibly in the first round, according to Carine Gazier of the Concerto consultancy. If no candidate wins over 50%, a second round will be held.

Polls will open at 7:00 am GMT and close at 7:00 pm GMT.

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