Mauritania's Ghazouani wins majority in presidential vote: CENI

Mauritania's government has declared victory in the country's competitive presidential election but the opposition candidates has already declared they could contest the result. 

With counting completed in nearly all polling stations on Sunday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said the ruling party's Mohamed Ould Ghazouani won 51.9 percent of the vote. 

"Congratulations to president-elect Mohamed Ould Ghazouani for the trust the people have shown him. We wish him all success in his work," Communications Minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham said in a statement.

Ghazouani had already declared himself the winner in the early hours of Sunday in the presence of current President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, his supporters and journalists.

The election was the first in Mauritania's coup-strewn history to choose a successor to a democratically elected president.

Ghazouani's nearest rival, Mohamed Ould Boubacar won 18.67 percent, while Biram Dah Abeid followed in third place with 16.4 percent. None of the three remaining candidates has more than 10 percent.

At a news conference, opposition candidates said they would contest the results if the ruling party won outright.

"This seems like a coup d'etat," said Abeid, representing himself and the other opposition leaders. "We are united and will lead the contestation [of the results]."

Hitting out at Ghazouani's claim of victory "while the vote count is still going on", he said the ruling party candidate's announcement "constitutes a falsehood". 

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