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Ex-Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz ruled out of June election

Former Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, center, attends the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, in Beirut, Lebanon   -  
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Bilal Hussein/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved.


Former Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has been ruled out of the June 29 presidential election for lack of the necessary sponsorship, his spokesman Mohamed Ould Djibril told journalists on Tuesday, May 14, denouncing the sponsorship system in place.

"This blocking by the authorities is undemocratic," The spokesperson added. "There are ten of us who are victims of this plot by the authorities."

Mr. Aziz, who led Mauritania, a pivotal country between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, until 2019, had taken steps to present his candidacy, according to his spokesman. If so, he would have faced the outgoing president, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, his successor and one of his most loyal companions in the past, with whom he is now in open conflict.

The former president was sentenced in 2023 to five years in prison for illicit enrichment.

The government through the ruling party had set conditions requiring presidential candidates to get approvals from the municipal councillors and mayors. Only the opposition Islamist party Tewassoul has any room for maneuver, as it has the required number of municipal councilors.

The opposition parties had previously denounced the law terming it unjust.

"We denounce the hegemony of the majority parties, who are thus choosing their opponents from among the candidates and leading the country towards the holding of a unilateral electoral parody," denounced a dozen opposition candidates, including Mr. Aziz, in a joint statement.

"Even if the former president had collected sponsorships, his qualifications would have been highly uncertain. Candidatures must be submitted to the Constitutional Council. However, according to the Constitution, the president "may be re-elected only once", and Mr. Aziz has already served two terms," they added.