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Mauritanian President Announces Re-election Bid

Image: Mauritanian President Announces Re-election Bid

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 10:43 AM

Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said on Wednesday he would stand for re-election in the northwest African country's presidential polls.

In a widely expected announcement, he told journalists in the capital Nouakchott that he expected the vote to go ahead as scheduled on June 21 despite a row over the timing and opposition demands for electoral reform.

"The decree convening the electoral college was released on April 20, so the process is open for applications and, as outgoing president, I will present my candidature, God willing," he said at a ceremony launching a science institute.

"If there are people who decide to boycott, I will not be among them."

Talks are due in the coming days between the desert nation's rulers and members of the opposition over how the elections will be run.

The radical opposition National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU) set conditions last month for entering the presidential race, demanding changes to the electoral authorities organising the poll.

The FNDU combines the Islamist movement Tewassoul and 10 parties allied in the Coordination for a Democratic Opposition, which boycotted parliamentary and municipal elections last year.

"We are listening to all complaints and demands but, as for those that are unrealistic and unattainable, such as delaying the elections... I don't think a postponement is necessary. It is not in the national interest," Abdel Aziz said.

The talks are due to last 12 days, officials said, and will bring together 33 representatives from three political poles: 11 from the presidential majority, 11 from the moderate opposition and 11 from the radical opposition.

All sides have agreed to talk regardless of the official date set for the vote, but that date "can be revised if there is political agreement", Abdessalam Ould Horma, chief negotiator for the moderate opposition, told AFP on Monday.

Candidates have until May 7 to file applications to run for president, and campaigning will take place between June 6 and June 19, according to the text.

Abdel Aziz, a former army general who took power in a coup in August 2008, was elected the following year for a five-year term.

Late in January, a renowned anti-slavery activist in the northwest African nation, Birame Ould Dah Ould Abeid, announced that he planned to run as an independent candidate.

Ould Abeid, a descendant of slaves himself, has won international recognition for leading efforts to combat slavery in a nation where it still exists, despite an official ban more than 30 years ago.

© AFP 2017

   
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Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said on Wednesday he would stand for re-election in the northwest African country's presidential polls.
Mauritania, vote, president
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2014-43-25
Friday, 25 Apr 2014 10:43 AM
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