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Electoral chief resigns over vote concerns

2 min

Sid'Ahmed Ould Deye, head of Mauritania's electoral commission, announced on Thursday that he was resigning due to questions over the "reliability" of weekend presidential elections won by an ex-junta leader.


AFP - The head of Mauritania's electoral commission on Thursday announced he was resigning because of doubts over the "reliability" of weekend presidential elections won by an ex-junta leader.

Sid'Ahmed Ould Deye said he "observed, like many others, that the presidential elections were carried out normally," a statement said.

But "the complaints that I have received as well as the contents of appeals sent to the Constitutional Council have placed doubts in my mind on the basic reliability of these elections," he said.

"It is because of that, and to avoid being in contradiction with my conscience, that I have decided to present my resignation ... as of today."

On Tuesday three candidates appealed the results of the elections, which were won by Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, an ex-junta chief who led a coup last year against the country's first democratically elected head of state.

The three candidates denounced "massive fraud" in Saturday's vote.

Also on Tuesday, Mauritania's electoral commission announced it had received complaints of irregularities from four of the candidates.

The four all object to alleged manipulation of the results and fraud in the polls, though foreign observers have largely given the poll their approval as fair and open.

The Constitutional Council was scheduled to hold a news conference late Thursday to hand down its decision.

Ould Abdel Aziz, 53, has been declared the winner of Saturday's election with more than 52 percent of the votes, according to the full provisional figures released by the ministry of the interior.

The margin above 50 percent, which avoided the need for a second round of voting, translated into just 17,000 votes, according to the opposition.

The European Union, the main aid donor to Mauritania which had suspended cooperation following last August's coup, called on the authorities to carry out a full inquiry into the allegations of irregularities.  

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