Presidential elections were held in Mauritania on 7 November 2003. As expected, incumbent President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya was easily re-elected against weak opposition. The opposition alleged election fraud, and Taya's main challenger, former military ruler Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla (the man who Taya ousted when he seized power in December 1984), was arrested both immediately before and after the vote. The elections saw two notable firsts; Aicha Bint Jeddane was the country's first female presidential candidate, and Messaoud Ould Boulkheir was the first descendant of slaves to run for the office.
The elections took place a few months after a violent unsuccessful coup d'état attempt in June 2003, and Taya was overthrown in a coup two years later, in August 2005.