Advance information (updated)
To spare you the trouble, and prevent MPR from lapsing into an Algeria blog, here are the results of the June 6, 2009 Mauritanian presidential elections:
– Mohamed ould Abdelaziz. The leader of the 2008 coup against President Abdellahi, and strongman of ever since. He recently resigned from the junta just to run in the elections, but only an idiot would believe that he has truly cut ties with it. The original plan following the coup was to hold elections quickly and resume business as usual. However, strong foreign and domestic resistance has prevented the legitimization of his rule, and by now opposition to junta-rigged elections is such that this might in fact aggravate the crisis. Gen. Abdelaziz has shown himself an expert at coups — both suppressing them (2003, 2004) and organizing them (2005, 2008) — but distinctly less agile as a politician. Nevertheless, even he can win an election organized by himself and boycotted by the opposition.
– Ibrahima Mokhtar Sarr. Leader of AJD/mr, a Peul-majority party representing the grievances of the South and more particularly the personal ambition of Mr. Sarr. Last time he ran, Sarr, a veteran Black Nationalist, scored 8% in the first round of the 2007 elections. His personal following should guarantee him something similar this time, and then — even if the mainstream opposition will boycott — there might be a a significant add-on for not being Gen. Abdelaziz. But note that Sarr has been in favor of the coup since day one.
– Kane Hamidou Baba. Defector from the RFD, Ahmed ould Daddah‘s party. The RFD was pro-coup (in alliance with AJD/mr), but soured on the thought of elections once it dawned on Daddah that the military wasn’t interested in helping him win. RFD Vice President Kane Hamidou Baba was then kicked out once it became clear he was allying himself with the army and wanted to present himself in the elections. I don’t know how big a chunk of the party he brought with him, but it won’t be enough to let him win, had that ever been anyone’s intention. Oh, and he once blogged.
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So, three candidates. Have there ever been this few people running in a Mauritanian presidential election before? (Except the single-candidate ones back in Mokhtar ould Daddah’s day.) There’s a little bit of time left for others to sign up, but I guess this looks like Abdelaziz is gearing up for a first-round victory. Can’t honestly see how something so blatantly fraudulent will help solve his legitimacy problem.
UPDATE (I): Taqadoumy, whose correspondents in good journalistic fashion sat outside the gates until the registration deadline had passed, tells us that three others found time to file last-minute candidacies, and Tahalil confirms their names. The names of the three are:
– Sghaïr ould M’Bareck, a former prime minister under President ould Tayaa, from 2003 until the 2005 coup. He is also the only Hartani (ex-slave/”black Moor”) candidate, formerly with a background in the el-Hor emancipation movement (from which, famously, opposition leader Messoud ould Boulkheïr launched his career). Since then, a persistent hanger-on apparatchik who has managed to attach himself to three successive, mutually hostile administrations: ould el-Tayaa, Abdellahi and now Abdelaziz.
– Isselmou ould el-Mustapha, chief of a microscopic party (Parti de la convergence démocratique, no seats in parliament) who ran in 2007 as well and scored 0,24%. But hey, quitters never win, and winners never quit.
– Sidi Mohamed ould Ghaouth (who according to the scrupulous staff of Taqadoumy arrived one minute late) is some random guy working in the port office of Nouakchott. My prediction is he will be working there in July 2009 as well.
UPDATE (II): The last two were rejected for filing deficient candidacy applications.