Mauritania's President Ghazouani on track for re-election, provisional results show


 According to the provisional result released on Sunday, Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani is on track to secure a second mandate after positioning the country as a strategic ally of the West in a region swept by coups and violence.

Ghazouani, a former army chief and the current president of the African Union,who is seeking reelection on a pledge of providing security and economic growth, obtained 55% of votes, from over 80% polling stations, according to the country's independent electoral commission. His main rival, anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid, who received 22.4% of votes with a turnout of almost 55% warned on Sunday against "an electoral coup d'état for the benefit of Ghazouani, who was defeated by voters."

Although his opponents accused him of corruption and mismanagement, Ghazouani remains popular among Mauritanians who see him as a beacon of stability. The vote is taking place in a particularly tense regional climate, with Mauritania's neighbors shaken by military coups and jihadi violence.

Mauritania is rich in natural resources including iron ore, copper, zinc, phosphate, gold, oil and natural gas. It is poised to become a gas producer by the end of the year, with the planned launch of the BP-operated Greater Tortue Ahmeyin offshore gas project at the border with Senegal.

Despite these prospects, almost 60% of the population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations, working as farmers or employed in the informal sector. With few economic opportunities for young people at home, many are attempting to reach Europe, and some are even trying to get to the United States through Mexico.

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