Mauritania President Ghazouani Looked Set to Avoid a Runoff Election With 56% of Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Mohamed Ould Ghazouani was on track to secure a second term as president of Mauritania after Saturday’s election, based on preliminary results from the northwest African nation’s electoral authorities.

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With ballots from over 90% of polling stations counted by Sunday afternoon, Ghazouani had garnered 56% of the vote, according to a tally on the Independent National Electoral Commission’s website.

The former army chief, 67, needs at least 50% support from voters in the desert nation of about 4.7 million people to avoid a runoff. His likely victory would give investors an assurance of policy continuity in a European Union ally that’s on the cusp of becoming a gas producer.

Biram Dah Abeid, a prominent anti-slavery activist who came second in the 2019 presidential election, received 23% of the vote, according to the latest tally.

Abe Hamadi Ould Sid’ El Moctar from the main opposition party, Tawassoul, with the largest number of parliamentary seats after El Insaf, received 13% support. Voter participation was estimated at 55% with a majority of the votes counted.

Ghazouani’s reelection bid was boosted by the ruling Equity Party’s landslide victory in a legislative vote in 2023. He’s also avoided the instability that’s wracked other countries in West Africa, which have been shaken by coups and Islamist insurgencies.

Ghazouani has also fostered ties with the EU, which will become a customer for gas Mauritania will start producing this year. The nation has a share in the giant offshore Grand Tortue Ahmeyim gas field that straddles its border with Senegal.

The gas boom is expected to help lift economic growth in Mauritania to 5.5% in 2025 from 4.3% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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