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Mauritania Constitutional Council Confirms Mohamed Ould Ghazouani as President

FILE - People celebrate the presidential election victory by Mauritania's ruling party candidate Mohamed Ould Ghazouani in Nouakchoot on June 23, 2019.

Mauritania’s constitutional council confirmed Mohamed Ould Ghazouani as president, amid concerns of election impropriety by opposition leaders.

On Monday, the West African country's constitutional council announced Ghazouani had won the June 22 presidential elections with 52% of the vote, rejecting a challenge by the opposition.

“The candidate Mohamed Ould Cheikh Lohaled Ahmed Ould Ghazwani is proclaimed president, having acquired an absolute majority in the first round,” said Haimond Ba, a council member.

Ghazouani will take office on August 2, succeeding Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Aziz, an ally of Ghazouani, who had served two five-year terms, the maximum in Mauritania.

Prior to being elected president, Ghazouani had served as the country’s defense minister.

The confirmation by the Constitutional Court represents the first democratic transition of power since Mauritania’s independence from France in 1960.

On Sunday, opposition parties alleged that election fraud took place, referencing crackdowns in the country surrounding the presidential vote, as well as what they saw as impossible poll percentages.

The constitutional council asserted that there was insufficient evidence for the allegations.