Wednesday, 12 November 2003

Nouakchott (Fides Service )- According to official results, outgoing President Maaouiya Sid'Ahmed Ould Taya was re-elected with 66,7 % of votes place in Mauritania on 7 November (see Fides 8 November 2003).
Taya, in power since 1994, beat Opposition candidates: Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, former head of state from 1980 1984, who won 18,7 % of the votes followed by the eternal opposition candidate Ahmed Ould Daddah, with 6,9 %, and the leader of descendants of slaves Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, with 5 %.
However the entire Opposition refused to accept the results and its three main leaders denounce fraud. They say they will appeal to the Supreme Court and have set up a committee to prepare a common response to the suspected fraud.
The Opposition denounced police intimidation of Haidalla and his collaborators. The day before the elections Haidalla was taken in custody for several hours by the police on the grounds that he was a threat to state security. After the electoral campaign closed Haidalla was arrested again with five collaborators.
In Nouadhibou, the economic capital, police used force to stop a demonstration of women and imposed strict control all over the city. (L.M.) (Fides Service 12/11/2003, lines 22 words 239)