Mauritania's incumbent leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has overwhelmingly won presidential election, garnering 81.89 percent of the votes, preliminary results show.According to the results published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday, Abdel Aziz was firmly ahead of his rival, Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, who obtained 8.67 percent of Saturday's ballots.Another candidate, Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, was in third place with 4.44 percent while the only female candidate in the election, Lalla Mariem Mint Moulaye Idriss, received 0.49 percent of the votes.
The opposition boycotted the polls, calling the election a grotesque theater with victory guaranteed for Abdel Aziz who has control over state institutions.Talks to try to persuade the opposition groups to take part in the vote broke down in April, leaving Abdel Aziz with no major rivals."Anyone can see that these [opposition] parties are void of any content and no longer even have a political role to play, reflecting the level of their leaders," Abdel Aziz told reporters after voting.According to reports, voter turnout stood at 56.46 percent. It was reportedly low in wealthy areas in the capital Nouakchott, but Abdel Aziz strongholds on the outskirts of the capital witnessed crowded lines at the polling stations.
As many as 1.3 million people were eligible to vote in the elections with just a handful of candidates to choose from.Mauritania has reserves of iron ore, copper and gold and is trying to boost investor interest in its oil and gas.However, it has long been plagued by political instability and military coups.
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