Mauritania President Ghazouani Wins Second Term

(Bloomberg) -- Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani secured a second term in Saturday’s election as the country prepares to produce its first gas by the third quarter.

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With ballots from over 99% of polling stations counted Monday, Ghazouani had garnered 56% of the vote, according to a tally on the Independent National Electoral Commission’s website.

The former army chief, 67, needed at least 50% support from voters in the desert nation of about 4.7 million people to avoid a runoff. His victory is expected to bring policy continuity to investors in the European Union ally that’s on the cusp of a gas boom.

Biram Dah Abeid, a prominent anti-slavery activist who came second in the 2019 presidential election, received 22% of the vote, according to the 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. The Constitutional Council must still validate and proclaim the final results.

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.

Start of gas production is expected to 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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