A Mauritanian court on Monday dismissed an appeal made by opposition candidates over alleged voting irregularities in last month’s election and confirmed Mohamed Ould Ghazouani as the country’s next president.
The Constitutional Council officially declared the former general and defense minister won 52 percent of the vote, as preliminary results had indicated in June. The council announced Monday that Ould Ghazouania had been elected to a five-year term, reported Reuters.
“The candidate Mohamed Ould Cheikh Lohaled Ahmed Ould Ghazwani is proclaimed president, having acquired an absolute majority in the first round,” council member Haimoud Ba said during a press conference.
Council President Bathia Mamadou Diallo told reporters on Monday that ninety-nine percent of the arguments are general allegations. He said the decision to reject the complaints was taken as there was insufficient evidence for the allegations.
Ghazouani, who had served as the country’s defense minister prior to being elected president, will take office on August 2. He will take over the presidency from close ally Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is stepping down after serving two five-year terms, the maximum in Mauritania. Aziz was a key ally of Western powers in the fight against Islamist insurgents in the Sahel region.
The June election represented Mauritania’s first democratic transition of power since independence from France in 1960.
Last week, three losing candidates namely Biram Dah Abeid, Mohamed Ould Boubacar and Mohamed Ould Maouloud lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Council, citing instances of alleged multiple voting among other issues. They alleged that the results of the country’s first democratic elections were invalid.
On Sunday night, the opposition candidates denounced alleged election fraud. They also reported alleged patterns of people voting more than once.
“We reject these results,” Abeid, an anti-slavery campaigner who officially received just over 18 percent of the vote, said, accusing the council of deepening “the crisis”.