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Mauritanian Opposition Wants Constitutional Council to Reject Vote Results

The leading opposition candidates who lost Mauritania's presidential election want the country's constitutional council to invalidate the victory of former military leader Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Opposition candidates Ahmed Ould Daddah and Messaoud Ould Boulkheir want Mauritania's constitutional council to annul results from Saturday's election that show Aziz winning with more than 52 percent of the vote.

That total makes last year's coup leader this year's president without a second round of voting in which Daddah and Boulkheir had pledged to unite against him.

Both men spoke to reporters in Nouakchott after making their submission to the constitutional council.

Boulkheir says if the constitutional council responds in a democratic sense and confirms what the opposition says is an electoral charade, that would be all the better for everyone. But, on the contrary, if the council refuses to denounce what opposition leaders say is electoral fraud, Boulkheir says opposition leaders will meet again to decide what to do next.

National Assembly President Boulkheir finished a distant second to Aziz with just over 16 percent of the vote. In his fourth and final run at the presidency, official-leader-of-the-opposition Daddah fared even worse, finishing third with less than 14 percent.

Daddah says opposition leaders gave the constitutional council arguments that show that the election was a fraud. He says Senegalese nationals were allowed to vote. He says members of the military went from polling station to polling station voting as many times as they like. Daddah says there was also technological fraud that affected the outcome.

Opposition leaders denounced what they are calling an "electoral coup d'etat" within hours of polls closing Saturday. But they have so far failed to show any evidence.

The opposition-appointed interior minister says he has received no information that would lead him to question the outcome. Observers from the African Union and Arab League say the vote was fair. Former colonial power France says there were no major anomalies.

The Arab Democracy Foundation found partisan electoral officials among several irregularities it reported, but none that it said would affect the final result.

Mauritania's constitutional council is expected to rule on the final outcome by the end of the week.