Yesterday, 11 months after a military coup d'état led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Mauritania has elected the General to the presidency, resulting in Abdel Aziz's main challengers denouncing the election as a “charade,” according to BBC News. A quick scan of the Sahelian blogosphere shows that the challengers are in good company.
Maghreb Blog explains the candidates:
Mauritanians head to the polls today in landmark presidential elections. The front runner is Ould Abdel Aziz, former junta leader who is running on a platform based on populism and being anti-Israel. Ould Abdel Aziz has also called for an end to corruption and instituting principles for good governance. According to recent polls, General Ould Abdel Aziz is trailed by Ahmed Ould Dada and Messaoud Ould Boulkheir. The former's agenda emphasizes the morals and values of “justice, equity, tolerance.” Ould Boulkheir has espoused ideals of democracy and human rights, and has pledged his support for trade unions.
The Moor Next Door, based in the U.S., boldly calls fraud, stating:
The Ould Daddah and Boulkheir campaigns are now best described as “in shock”: the numbers coming out since the polls closed are showing massive majorities for General Ould Abdel Aziz. In Nouadhibou, sixty-five precincts are showing the same results in favor of Ould Abdel Aziz. The question: how? The answer: fraud. Their reactions now will determine what is possible tomorrow and in the days afterward.
The blogger reminds us:
General Ould Abdel Aziz has lead Mauritania in three substantial campaigns: The Good Coup (2005), the Rejected Coup (2008) and, now, the Constitutional Coup (2009).
U.S.-based self-described African blogger A Bombastic Element calls a spade a spade:
The BBC is reporting that coup leader General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, who relinquished power and turned civilian in order to run in Saturday's elections, is about to pull off a “Musharraf.”
As bloggers wait for results to be finalized, one – an artist living in Nouakchott, offers this sketch of election day in Nouadhibou: