Mauritanian president tipped to secure second term in 'one-sided' election

Mauritanians go to the polls on Saturday for elections widely expected to deliver a second term to President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani.

The opposition has condemned a "one-sided election", with Ghazouani's party dominating politics since the last general elections in May 2023.

Anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, who came second after Ghazouani in the 2019 polls, is considered the front-runner among six opposition candidates.

“All the young people are behind him because we finally want change in the country," Amadou Lo, a student in the capital, Nouakchott, told RFI.

"Nothing works. We don't even have access to a good education."

The constitutional council did not approve the candidacy of previous president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is in prison for embezzlement, a charge that he denies.

Little hope for change

Ghazouani has promised to accelerate investments to push an energy and mining boom.

Abeid is challenging Ghazouani on his human rights record and the marginalisation of Mauritania's black African population.

Tens of thousands of black Mauritanians are kept as domestic slaves, usually by lighter-skinned Arabs or Berbers, according to rights groups, even though slavery was abolished in 1981 and criminalised in 2007.

The country is home to most of the refugees from Mali who have had to flee jihadist violence.

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Mauritania president to run for second term in June polls
EU pledges €200m to help Mauritania clamp down on illegal migration
Chad and Mauritania pave way to dissolve G5 anti-jihadist alliance