June 26, 2019 / 11:54 AM / 4 months ago

Mauritania opposition candidate challenges presidential election result

A man attends voting at a polling station during presidential election in Nouakchott, Mauritania June 22, 2019. REUTERS/Media Coulibaly

NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) - The third place candidate in Mauritania’s presidential election filed an appeal late on Tuesday contesting the victory of ruling party candidate Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.

“I confirm that we have appealed to the Constitutional Council,” Mohamed Ould Boubacar told Reuters via text message on Wednesday, without elaborating.

Mauritania’s electoral commission declared Ghazouani winner last week with 52% of the vote. Anti-slavery campaigner Biram Dah Abeid came second with 18.58%, while Boubacar, who is backed by Mauritania’s biggest Islamist party, got 17.85%.

Boubacar and other opposition candidates have voiced concern about ballot papers being printed by a private company said to be rooting for Ghazouani’s victory. He has also complained about a lack of international observers.

The African Union, which promotes democracy, human rights and development on the continent, has said it was satisfied with the electoral process.

Mauritania’s largely peaceful election was the first in the sparsely populated Saharan nation’s history, since independence from France in 1960, to choose a successor to a democratically elected president.

Reporting by Kissima Diagana; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Jon Boyle

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