Voters in Mauritania went to the polls on Saturday, May 13, 2023, in the first local elections since President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani came to power in 2019.
It is viewed as a litmus test for the leader's popularity ahead of the presidential elections next year, for which he has not yet announced his intention to run.
Ghazouani, who has presided over the West African country's relative peace in the violent Sahel, is generally expected to run for re-election.
According to voter Mahfoud, "We would like these elections to bring out patriotic men who will work to boost the economy and reduce unemployment."
Ghazouani's El Insaf party is expected to win among the 25 parties vying for the support of around 1.8 million people, who will elect 176 members of parliament, 15 regional councils, and 238 local councils.
El Insane is the only party running candidates in every constituency in the country in the May 13 election.
Another voter, Zahra, remarked as she prepared to vote, "We want the candidates to honour their commitments to the voters, especially the women to whom they have promised development in all areas."
The Islamist movement Tewassoul, the major opposition group in the outgoing parliament, and the Arab nationalist Sawab are El Insaf's principal opponents.
The first round of voting results are expected within 48 hours of polls closing.
A second round of voting for half of the 176 National Assembly seats is set for May 27.
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