Mauritanian president vows to work for unity

2014-06-23 19:14


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Nouakchott - Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz vowed to work for national unity following his landslide 82% victory in weekend elections that were boycotted by the opposition.

Abdel Aziz, 57, pledged "to be the president of all Mauritanians and to guarantee the rights of all citizens", according to a text read out by his campaign director Sidi Ould Salem on Monday.

He will use his new five-year mandate to "pursue a policy of strengthening national unity, the independence of the judiciary, the fight against waste and social inequality as well as the reduction of poverty through a better redistribution of the nation's wealth," the statement said.

Abdel Aziz said the 56% turnout in Saturday's vote put the lie to opposition claims that the population would reject the process, and that it showed "a large part of the Mauritanian people [are committed to] pursuing... the process of consolidating democracy and good governance."

The former general seized power in the northwest African nation in an August 2008 coup and won disputed elections the following year. He campaigned strongly on his success in fighting armed groups linked to al-Qaeda at home and in neighbouring Sahel nations.

His nearest challenger, anti-slavery candidate Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, garnered less than 9% of the vote.

The also-rans have 48 hours to contest the results before the constitutional council confirms them.

Mauritania, nearly as big as Egypt, is a poor country but saw 6% economic growth last year. It has produced oil since 2006 and is rich in iron ore as well as fish caught off its Atlantic coastline.

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