Thousands of Mauritanians demonstrate against the election results

Nouakchott / Mohamed El Bekay / Anatolia

Thousands of Mauritanians participated, on Thursday, in a mass festival in the capital, Nouakchott, called for by the opposition, in rejection of the results of the parliamentary and local elections that took place on May 13.

According to the Anatolia correspondent, the participants in the festival raised banners calling for a re-election and criticizing the performance of the Independent National Elections Commission.

Several opposition parties were invited to participate in the festival, namely the Union of Progressive Forces, the Democratic Forces Bloc, the Progressive Popular Alliance, the Right Party, the National Rally for Reform and Development, and the Republican Front.

“The opposition will protect the people’s votes and will not accept this farce,” said the head of the “National Rally for Reform and Development” party, Amadi Ould Sidi El Mokhtar, referring to the recent elections.

In his speech during the festival, he stressed “the necessity of re-election,” adding that “massive fraud involved the elections, which confirms the necessity of re-election.”

Ould Sidi El Mokhtar added, “We will continue the peaceful struggle until the re-election. We will protect the people’s votes.”

He pointed out that “for the first time there is a consensus between the opposition and the loyalists (not including the ruling party) that the elections are rigged,” referring to the demand of 9 parties from the majority supporting President Mohamed Ould Cheikh al-Ghazwani to rerun the elections.

In turn, the head of the “Bloc of Democratic Forces” party, Ahmed Ould Daddah, affirmed the opposition’s continuation in defending the country’s democracy.

In his speech during the festival, he added, “We will continue to defend our rights and freedoms and the interest of the country. The opposition will not remain silent over this injustice. The elections must be repeated.”

The opposition is calling for a re-election in Nouakchott and the province of Boutlemet (west) and some other polling stations, which it says “has witnessed widespread fraud.”

The elections sparked widespread controversy in the country, after political parties from the opposition and loyalists talked about “extensive fraud” and demanded that their results be annulled and returned.

However, the Independent National Elections Commission (the supervising body) talks about “violations” and confirms that they “do not affect the credibility of the electoral process.”

The ruling “Insaf” party topped the results announced in the first round of the elections, by winning 80 parliamentary seats out of 176.

On the other hand, the opposition parties won 24 parliamentary seats, and other parties (the loyalists) supporting President Ghazwani won 36 parliamentary seats.

According to the results announced by the committee, the ruling “Insaf” party won all 13 regional councils, and it also won the majority of the 238 local councils.

On Sunday, the Elections Commission officially announced the results of the first round of the elections, while the date for the second round was set on May 27, to settle the remaining 36 parliamentary seats.

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