Mauritania’s election commission announced Monday the results of the September 15 second-round legislative election, with the ruling Union Pour la Republique (UPR) party carrying 22 of the contested seats to hold an 89-seat majority in the National Assembly.
The UPR also won 942 of the 1,020 seats in municipal contests, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said, despite its continued struggle in the Nouakchott districts. The UPR wins keep President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz’s power consolidated and leave options for him to run again in 2019 – a decision that would take him beyond his second term and is bitterly opposed by the political opposition.
About 700,000 of the country’s 1.3 million voters participated.
Mohamed Vall Ould Bellal, president of CENI, praised the process but acknowledged shortcomings including respect for the line between political and electoral work, and military and civil duties. He also apologized for a process that was not perfect.
The opposition National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU) seized the opportunity to question the outcome, with FNDU leader Mohamed Ould Moloud accusing the government of “dirty tricks” in conducting the election. “The regime has failed miserably,” he said.
The FNDU agreed in April to participate in the election after past boycotts in protest of Abdel Aziz. They also opposed the appointments to the 11-member CENI board and questioned the commission’s capacity to ensure credible elections.