Coup leaders plan elections for June 6

Mauritanian junta leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who seized power in a coup last August, announced that democratic elections would be held on June 6, 2009. It is believed Ould Abdel Aziz, a soldier, may run for office himself.


AFP - The Mauritanian junta which seized power in a coup last August announced Friday it would hold elections on June 6, according to a statement published by the official press agency AMI.

It said junta leader General Mohamed had "instructed the government to take all the necessary action to prepare...the presidential elections planned for June 6, 2009."

Late December the junta staged a special political forum to discuss possible election dates with political parties. The forum, boycotted by the anti-coup parties, proposed to hold elections on May 30.

The June 6 date chosen by the junta is exactly six months after the coup which ousted the country's first democratically-elected president, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

Observers say it is likely that junta leader Ould Abdel Aziz will run for president himself. In October he stressed that a soldier should have the right to run for office if he stepped down from the army.

The anti-coup parties and even some factions which supported the coup have spoken out against the military leadership running for office.

On Thursday ousted president Ould Cheikh Abdallahi said he would accept new elections if certain conditions were met.

He notably wants the army to to withdraw from power "definitely" and wants the institutions created by the 2007 elections to be reinstated, which implies that he wants to be reinstated as president ahead of the vote.

The international community has widely condemned the coup and demanded a return to "constitutional order".

The African Union has threatened sanctions if this does not happen before February 5.

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