Former President of Mauritania barred from contesting June election

Former President of Mauritania barred from contesting June election
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz

Former Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has been disqualified from the June 29 presidential election due to a lack of necessary sponsorship, his spokesman, Mohamed Ould Djibril, announced according to the Associated Press. Djibril criticized the sponsorship system as undemocratic, stating, "This blocking by the authorities is undemocratic." He added that ten other candidates had suffered the same treatment.

Aziz, who led Mauritania until 2019, planned to run against his successor, President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, who was previously his protégé before the two men fell out. In 2023, Aziz was sentenced to five years in prison for illicit enrichment.

The government mandated that presidential candidates secure approvals from municipal councillors and mayors, a challenge for most opposition parties except the Islamist Tewassoul party. Opposition parties, including Aziz, condemned the law as unjust and accused the government of manipulating the election process.

Even with sponsorships, Aziz’s candidacy was uncertain. According to the Constitution, a president can only be re-elected once, and Aziz has already served two terms.

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