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Mauritanian Opposition Rejects Election of Former Military Leader


Mauritania's largest coalition of political parties is rejecting the results of presidential elections that show a big win for the country's former military leader.

Mauritania's interior ministry says former general Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz won 52 percent of the vote, making last year's coup leader this year's civilian president without a second round of voting in which his political opponents had vowed to unite against him.

Those opponents are rejecting what they call an "electoral coup d'etat."

Ahmed Ould Sidi Baba is vice president of the political party that was toppled in the Aziz coup.

Baba says the electoral results are fraudulent and the opposition National Front for the Defense of Democracy is considering all available options to challenge the outcome.

Arab electoral observers report several irregularities, including partisan electoral officials and security forces inside polling stations. But the preliminary report from the Arab Democracy Foundation says it does not believe any of those irregularities affected the overall result.

Mohamed Ould Maoulode disagrees. He leads one of the political parties in the National Front coalition and says campaign staff found vast manipulation of the result after a close analysis of the returns.

Maoulode says Senegalese were brought across the border to vote in Mauritania. He says the army unduly influenced many voters and members of Aziz's former ruling council openly campaigned for him in direct violation of a power-sharing deal.

In his victory speech late Sunday, Aziz said opponents should take their complaints to the constitutional council. He says he is not concerned about those allegations because he was not in power during Saturday's vote and was simply a candidate like all the others.

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