The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat approved the deployment of an African Union Election Observation Mission, AUEOM.
The Mission to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, which comprises thirty-five (35) observers, had as objectives to provide an accurate and impartial reporting or assessment of the 22 June Presidential Election, including the degree to which the conduct of the elections meets regional, continental and international standards for democratic elections.
The Yang mission is also expected to offer recommendations for improvement of future elections based on the findings; and to demonstrate AU’s interest to support Mauritanian’s elections and democratisation process to ensure that the conduct of genuine elections contributes to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability.
The AUEOM draws its mandate from various African Union instruments, most importantly: the African Union Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions (2002); the OUA/AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa (2002); African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981) and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), among others.
The Mission met with the political, administrative and judicial authorities of the country, the institutions in charge of elections, the national actors involved in the electoral process and the representatives of the international community in order to be aware of the arrangements made prior to the holding of Saturday’s elections.
Former General Mohamed Ould Ghazouani wins
Mohamed Ould Ghazouani won Mauritania's presidential election with an absolute majority. It was the first time Mauritanians voted to elect a successor to a democratically elected president in the West African state.
Mauritania's ruling party candidate Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, a former general and defense minister, won the country's presidential election with 52% of the vote, the electoral commission announced Sunday.
Ghazouani's nearest rival, prominent anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid, came in second with 18.58% of the vote. Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, who is backed by the country's biggest Islamist party, came in third with 17.87%.
As Ghazouani won an absolute majority in the first round of the presidential election, the top two contenders will not face off in a runoff election.
Earlier on Sunday, Ghazouani declared himself the winner of the Saturday polls. Mauritania's government also declared victory for the former general and congratulated him.
Opposition candidates reject results
Speaking at a news conference with three other candidates, Boubacar said that "multiple irregularities ... eliminated any credibility" of the election in the West African desert nation.
"We reject the results of the election and we consider that they in no way express the will of the Mauritanian people," he said, vowing that the opposition would use "every legal means" to challenge them.
Opposition candidates had earlier said they would contest the results if the ruling party won the first round of the election outright.
"This seems like a coup d'etat," Abeid said at a press conference, representing himself and the other opposition leaders. "We are united and will lead the contestation [of the results]."
Philemon Yang’s report on the conduct of the elections is awaited. He was dropped from President Paul Biya’s cabinet last January after serving as Prime Minister for close to a decade.