Long lines lined up in front of many polling stations in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, today, Saturday, to elect a new parliament and regional and local councils in the first poll since President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El-Ghazouani came to power in 2019. While Amadi Ould Sidi El Mokhtar, head of the National Rally for Reform and Development (RDR) party, said: Mauritania's largest opposition party), that "major violations" were recorded in the first hours of the elections.
The polling stations opened to voters at seven o'clock in the morning local time, as the elections take place with the participation of 25 parties, which is the total number of political parties licensed in the country.
The Independent National Elections Commission had announced that the turnout had reached 18% at midday.
For his part, the Mauritanian president said that the government "is insisting on the success of organizing parliamentary and local elections."
On the other hand, the head of the "National Rally for Reform and Development" party said – in a statement after casting his vote – that the opposition "was very concerned about the course of the electoral process, especially with regard to the Independent National Elections Commission, and what we feared has come true today."
Ould Sidi El-Mokhtar pointed out that "during the first two hours of the start of voting, we witnessed many violations, there are centers that did not open their doors two hours after the start of voting, centers that were moved from their place without prior notice, centers that receive incomplete electoral lists, and centers that do not accept the entry of representatives." about the parties.
The Independent National Elections Commission did not comment on the statements of the "National Rally for Reform and Development" party regarding "violations" and said that "the polling is taking place smoothly and without obstacles."
Rivalry rages in the capital, Nouakchott, between the ruling "Insaf" party and the "National Rally for Reform and Development" (Islamic opposition).
The two parties are looking forward to winning the position of president of the Nouakchott region (mayor of the capital), which is considered the most important electoral position at the level of the capital.
The ruling "Insaf" party renewed its candidacy for Fatima bint Abdel-Malik, who had held the position since the 2018 elections, while the "National Rally for Reform and Development" party pushed the former mayor of Arafat district in Nouakchott and the most prominent party leader, Hassan Ould Mohamed; for this position.
According to figures from the Independent National Elections Commission, the number of candidate lists in constituencies at the parliamentary level has reached 559, which will compete for 167 parliamentary seats.
The number of lists running for the regional elections reached 145, competing for 13 regional councils, while the number of lists running for municipalities was 1,378, competing for 238 local councils.
Last March, Mauritanian President Al-Ghazwani issued a decree dissolving the "National Assembly" (parliament), in preparation for holding elections, as its sessions have stopped since that date.