Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Abdallahi wins Mauritania’s presidential vote

Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi won Mauritania’s historic presidential election with 52,85% of the vote, the interior minister said on Monday.

Ould Abdallahi, who was backed by supporters of Mauritania’s ousted dictator Maaouiya Ould Taya and who has vowed to become a ”reassuring president”, beat Ahmed Ould Daddah in the second-round run-off of the poll.

Ould Abdallahi, a 69-year-old former government minister, is the West African country’s first democratically elected president since it won independence from France in 1960.

The election was the final stage of democratic reforms led by the military junta that ousted Ould Taya in August 2005.

After a constitutional referendum in June, local and parliamentary polls were held in November and senatorial elections in January.

”I hereby proclaim that the next president of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania will be Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi,” Interior Minister Mohamed Ahmed Ould Mohamed Lemine told reporters.

Voter turnout in Sunday’s presidential run-off, which was held without major incident, was 67,48%, he said, slightly down from the 70% turnout in the first round of the election on March 11.

After coming out on top in the first round with nearly 25% of votes, Ould Abdallahi carried 11 of Mauritania’s 13 regions in the second round.

His opponent, longtime opposition politician Ould Daddah (65), meanwhile, triumphed in the capital Nouakchott and in his native Trarza region in the south-east, an Interior Ministry source said.

Both candidates are former political prisoners and exiles in the mostly desert country bordering Mali, Algeria, Senegal and Western Sahara.

Ould Abdallahi, supported by a coalition of 18 political groups once loyal to Ould Taya, had presented himself to voters as a consensus candidate who could get things done as his coalition has a majority in Parliament.

His quite demeanour has prompted adversaries to accuse him of weakness, while his supporters praise his mildness of manner, a trait they claim is essential for the leader of a multi-ethnic country still struggling with its history of slavery, only officially abolished in 1981.

Faced with Ould Daddah’s campaign promises for radical change, Ould Abdallahi vowed instead to become ”the reassuring president”.

”The majority opinion wants change, but is aware that the country is fragile and that change needs to come gradually,” he told Agence France-Presse before the first voting round.

The election went generally well, EU observer mission chief Marie-Anne Isler Beguin said on Sunday. ”Nothing has stopped the process. There have been no incidents, no unauthorised people in polling stations,” she told reporters. — AFP



Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

The ANC, DA and EFF ‘oblivious’ to climate crisis —...

The Climate Justice Charter Movement has critiqued the manifestos of the main parties contesting the local government elections and found them ‘shallow’

More top stories

It’s safe to open the beaches, says UPL after chemical...

Agrochemical producer UPL said it has paid R250-million in chemical spill clean-up

Former spy boss Fraser objects to Zondo’s nomination as chief...

The former director general of intelligence’s character assassination of the deputy chief justice is straight out of the Zuma playbook

Special Investigating Unit to oppose efforts to reject Mkhize report

Former health minister Zweli Mkhize seeks relief to declare the SIU’s conduct against him ‘unlawful and unconstitutional

Bird flu outbreak on Dyer Island causing mass deaths

The island hosts the vulnerable African penguins, endangered bank cormorant and roseate tern

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…