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Mauritania - 2009 Election - President

The 2009 election of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as president ended a political crisis caused by Aziz 2008 coup detat against former president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. International observers declared the 2009 presidential election to be generally free and fair. Although some opposition groups claimed the election was fraudulent and requested an investigation, the Constitutional Council certified the election. In 2009 Union for the Republic (UPR), the majority party, won most of the seats in the indirect election to refill one-third of the Senate seats.

In August 2008, Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was overthrown by a military coup led by generals Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. After several months of political crisis, the government and opposition, partly regrouped in a National Front for the Defense of Democracy, signed an agreement in June 2009 providing for the organization of pluralistic presidential elections.

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was elected President of the Republic with 53% of the vote, compared to 16% in Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, candidate of the National Front for the Defense of Democracy, 14% in Ahmed Ould Daddah, 5% to Mohamed Jemil Ould Brahim Ould Mansour of the Islamist party Tawassoul, 5% to Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, one of the founders of the Liberation Forces of the Africans of Mauritania, and 4% to Ely Ould Mohamed Vall. Aziz won the presidential poll in the first round with 52.58 of the vote in provisional results.

The opposition dismissed the result as a "charade". Four candidates for the presidency, including the speaker of parliament Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, denounced what they called the "prefabricated results" of the election at a joint press conference. Ould Boulkheir, leading an anti-coup front, was Ould Abdel Aziz's nearest challenger with 16.72 percent of votes. Ahmed Ould Daddah, head of the main opposition party, came in third with 13.86 percent, and Ould Mohamed Vall, the junta chief in 2005-2007, scored 3.79 percent. Main opposition parties never accepted Abdel Azizs 2009 victory in an election they said was marred by massive fraud.

The EU described the elections as calm, transparent and properly conducted, and concluded that the Mauritanian people had the opportunity to express their political will through free and pluralist elections. The elections marked a return to democracy in Mauritania, nineteen months after a coup detat in August 2005.

The priorities of Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf's government are the revival of economic and social development, after a year of suspension of international aid due to political circumstances, and the restoration of security threatened by al-Qaeda's terrorism In the Islamic Maghreb.

President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz also pledged to settle the issue of the humanitarian liability constituted by the aftermath of the violence of April 1989 and the perpetuation of slavery practices. To this end, it is accelerating the process of repatriating refugee refugees in Senegal under the auspices of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. Despite these advances, the issue had not yet been resolved.

Politically, the government was faced with opposition from the Coalition of Democratic Opposition and the Islamist party Tawassoul, as well as from groups more specifically concerned with the claims of the Negro-Mauritanians or the harratines, a social group formed by the descendants of Arab slaves, such as the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania.

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