Mauritania began counting ballots on Saturday (June 22) evening of its presidential election, as the ruling party claimed its candidate was poised to win a landslide victory.
The election was the first in Mauritania’s history since independence from France in 1960 to choose a successor to a democratically-elected president.
Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, a former general and defence minister, was heavily tipped to replace outgoing President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is stepping aside after serving the maximum two five-year elected terms.
Even before polls ended around 7 p.m. (1900 GMT), Ghazouani’s party told reporters Ghazouani would win an outright majority, thus avoiding a second-round runoff next month.
Provisional results could be announced by the electoral commission as soon as late Saturday night.