Interim government agrees to July 18 election date
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Mauritania's transitional government, headed by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz since a military coup in August 2008, agreed to an internationally-brokered pact scheduling presidential elections for July 18.
AFP- Mauritania's transitional government on Sunday endorsed the internationally-brokered pact to overcome the west African country's political crisis and set the presidential election for July 18.
However, anti-putsch politicians, who have been seeking a longer delay to the vote, claimed the decree was not properly adopted.
"The council of ministers examined and approved the Dakar agreement of June 4, 2009..." said a government statement, adding "the government also examined and adopted a decree convening the electorate to vote in the presidential election planned for July 18, 2009."
Under the internationally-mediated pact signed in Dakar, Mauritanian political forces agreed to the delay until July 18 the presidential election, which the general who led last year's putsch was set to sweep.
General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who toppled Mauritania's first democratically elected president last August, was expected to have easily won the presidential election set for June 6 as opposition parties had boycotted the vote.
While anti-putsch forces did not secure as long a delay in holding the vote as they sought, the did succeed in having a transitional government installed made up equally of pro- and anti-putsch forces.
Ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi signed the decree appointing the transitional government on Friday and formally stepped down.
Under the transitional government's decree, later approved by the Constitutional Council, candidates have until Tuesday to register to stand in the presidential election. Under Mauritania's constitution they should have 45 days to declare their candidacy.
Anti-putsch forces said the decree was not properly adopted.
"I can tell you that the decree convoking the vote was not signed either by me or the interim president, Ba Mamadou dit Mbare," transitional interior minister Mohamed Ould Rzeizim told AFP.
Lawmaker Khalil Ould Teyeb, who is close to anti-putsch candidate Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, said opposition candidates were set to meet late on Sunday to try to agree on a common position.
Official sources said decree foresees the electoral campaign getting underway on Thursday.