Ex-opposition, independents win Mauritania elections

Former opposition parties and independent candidates have won Mauritania’s first parliamentary election since the ouster of Maaouiya Ould Taya, who ruled for 21 years, state media said on Monday.

A coalition of ex-opposition parties has won 41 seats of the 95 seats in the new National Assembly after Sunday’s second round of voting, while independent candidates have taken 39 others.

The figures have yet to be officially confirmed by the interior ministry.

The Parliament will not sit until after a March 2007 presidential election set to end a 19-month transitional period pledged by a military junta when it deposed Ould Taya in a bloodless coup last year.

One of the coalition members, the Union of Forces for Democracy, will become the country’s leading political party with 15 deputies, state media said.

Close behind the coalition is the grouping of independents, most of whom are dissident former members of Ould Taya’s party. These candidates added 29 more seats to the 10 they won in the first round on November 19.

No overall majority emerged among the members of Parliament elected during the first of a series of elections intended to return the West African country to civilian democracy.

The November 19 first round of the National Assembly poll was accompanied by municipal elections.

The military junta, which is to step down after the presidential polls in march, has barred its members from taking part in the landmark elections to guarantee transparency. — AFP

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