The African Union observer group to
Mauritania's presidential election is scheduled to release its findings on the
weekend poll Monday.
Mauritania's interior minister declared
junta leader Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz winner of the election, crediting
Aziz as capturing slightly more than half of the votes cast.
But the opposition
dismissed the result as a sham aimed at legitimizing the military action that
ousted the country's first democratically elected leader.
opposition also called on the international community to institute a probe into
the disputed poll.
of Mohammed Ould Abdel
Aziz spent much of the night celebrating his victory, honking their horns,
driving around through the capital, hanging out of their cars, waving campaign
posters. It was a big win for the former general, who came to power 11 months
ago in a coup that toppled Mauritania's first freely elected leader," said VOA West Africa Bureau Chief Scott Stearns.
said divisions in the ranks of the opposition contributed to Aziz's big
interior minister said that Aziz won Saturday's election with more than 52
percent of the vote. That is significant because it eliminates the need for a
second round in which the former general's political opponents had vowed to
unite against him. They were not united…and that may have resulted in their
defeat," he said.
said the opposition flatly rejected the vote as a sham.
"In denouncing what they
called an electoral charade which is trying to legitimize last August coup.
They called on the international community to investigate what they called were
voting irregularities," Stearns said.
He said some electoral
observers say the irregularities claimed by the opposition didn't have a
significant effect on Saturday's vote.
"A group of electoral
observers from the Arab Democracy Foundation said that they did witness many
electoral irregularities, including the presence of security forces inside
polling stations, which they said could intimidate voters…Even so, the preliminary
report…said that they did not believe that any of those irregularities would
have affected the eventual outcome," he said.
He said the African Union
observer mission is scheduled to release its report Monday after describing the
election as relatively transparent, free and fair.
observers say the vote was meant to show investors and donors that the country
is ready to rejoin the international community after sanctions were imposed.