Polls closed amid tight security in Mauritania's legislative, municipal, and local elections at 19:00 (local time) on Saturday, September 1. No major security incidents or serious irregularities were immediately reported, although some organizational issues were signaled and leading opposition figure Mohamed Ould Mouloud complained of logistical problems and possible fraud. Election results are expected to be released in the coming week. If necessary, runoff elections will be held on September 15. Demonstrations are possible surrounding the announcement of results, and an associated heightened security presence is to be anticipated.
In April, the main opposition party National Forum for Democracy and Unity (FNDU) announced that it would participate in the general elections, despite having boycotted several votes in Mauritania in recent years, including legislative elections in 2013 and a constitutional referendum in August 2017. That referendum was backed by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and abolished the senate in favor of regional councils, among other reforms, but was criticized by the opposition, which claimed it would grant the president too much power. The country will hold its presidential election next year, and despite Aziz's assurances that he will not go against the constitution and seek a third mandate, there is popular speculation that he may attempt to run again.
Individuals in Mauritania are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
In general, individuals present in Mauritania should remain vigilant due to various security concerns. Due to the threat of kidnapping, it is critical that foreigners remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc.
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