About 1.3 million eligible Mauritanian voters are at the polls to elect a president to lead them for the next 5 years
The elections is being contested by the incumbent Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who is expected to win amidst a widespread boycott called by the opposition National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU).
The main challengers in the elections are former government minister Boidel Ould Houmeid, anti-slavery campaigner and only black contestant Biram Ould Abeid, Ibrahima Sarr, and the only female candidate is Lalla Mariem Mint Moulaye Idriss, 57, who has held several administrative posts and seeks support from fellow women and the youth.
The ex-army general Ould Abdel Aziz, who seized power in the northwest African nation in a coup in August 2008, has never been accepted by opposition groups who accused him of rigging the last elections in 2009. The ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) won a large majority in parliamentary and local elections last year, which were also boycotted by the opposition.
A second round to be held on 5 July if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.