Muslim Mauritania straddles black and Arab Africa

Former minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi won Sunday's presidential run-off poll in Mauritania, a senior Interior Ministry source said on Monday, citing provisional results.

Muslim Mauritania straddles black and Arab Africa

Hailed as the freest elections ever held in Mauritania, the polls pitted frontrunner Abdallahi against veteran opposition campaigner Ahmed Ould Daddah.

The winner will take over from a military junta which seized power in a bloodless coup in 2005.

Here are some key facts about Mauritania:

* THE COUNTRY:

GEOGRAPHY: Most of Mauritania is desert. At 1,025,220 sq km (395,800 sq miles), it is almost twice as big as former colonial power France, but has little more than 800 km (500 miles) of paved roads.

POPULATION: Almost all Mauritania's 3.1 million people are Muslims and it is officially an Islamic republic. Light-skinned Moors have dominated government since independence in 1960.

Black Africans and Moors each make up around 30 percent of the population, with the remainder of mixed descent, according to the CIA World Factbook.

ECONOMY: Main products are fish, livestock and iron ore, although offshore oil reserves promise to revolutionise the economy.

According to a World Food Programme study, 165,000 people, or 9 percent of the population, depend on humanitarian assistance to survive through the toughest months of the year.

* WHAT HAS HAPPENED:

November 1960 - Mauritania becomes independent from France as the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, with Moktar Ould Daddah as president.

1975 - Mauritania is declared an Islamic Socialist Republic.

Dec. 1984 - After a number of coup attempts in Mauritania, Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya seizes power and proclaims himself president. Almost two years later, Taya imposes sharia law.

Jan. 1992 - Taya is elected president with nearly 63 percent of the vote under a new 1991 constitution permitting multiple political parties, but opposition candidates denounce victory as fraudulent. Taya is re-elected in 1997 and 2003 after another coup attempt in June that year.

Aug. 2005 - Mauritania's army seizes power to end what it calls the "totalitarian" regime of Taya, while he is out of the country, and says it plans to rule for up to two years. In November, the 17-member junta pledges to hold presidential elections in March 2007, five months ahead of schedule.

June 2006 - Voters overwhelmingly back constitutional changes ensuring no president can serve for more than a decade.

Dec. 3, 2006 - After a second round of voting in parliamentary elections which completed the results of the Nov. 19 first round, the opposition Coalition for Change emerges with 41 seats in the 95-seat National Assembly. The new parliament will only sit after Sunday's presidential elections.

Jan. 21, 2007 - Elections are held for the 56-seat Senate, with independent candidates without party affiliation gaining 23 of the Senate seats. The coalition allies barely scrape 10 seats between them.

Mar. 26, 2007 - Former minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi wins the previous day's presidential run-off poll with 52.85 percent of the votes. His rival, opposition figure Ahmed Ould Daddah, had 47.15 percent
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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