Mauritanian presidential election, 2007

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Mauritanian presidential election, 2007
← 2003 March 11, 2007 2009 →
Turnout 70.16%
  Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi Ahmed Ould Daddah
Party Independent RFD
Popular vote 373,520 333,185
Percentage 52.85% 47.15%

Mauritania president election 2007 second round.svg
Results of the second round: the colour of each region varies for how strongly it voted for either candidate. Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi: red; Ahmed Ould Daddah: blue

President before election

Ely Ould Mohamed Vall

Elected President

Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi

Seal of Mauritania.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

A Mauritanian presidential election occurred on 11 March 2007.[1][2] Since no candidate received a majority of the votes, a second round was held on 25 March between the top two candidates, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi and Ahmed Ould Daddah. Abdallahi won the second round with about 53% of the vote and took office in April.[3]

The 2007 election followed a military coup in August 2005 that ousted long-time president Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya; the head of the junta, Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, said that he and the other members of the junta would not run for president in the election, which marks the last stage of the transition to civilian rule.

Candidates and lead-up to the election[edit]

21 candidates registered to run for president[4][5] of which 19 were approved to contest the election.[6] Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who served as a minister under Moktar Ould Daddah during the 1970s and briefly under Ould Taya in the 1980s, announced his candidacy for president on July 4, 2006.[7] Ba Mamadou Alassane, President of the Party for Freedom, Equality and Justice (PLEJ), announced his candidacy on July 19, 2006.[8] The former head of the Central Bank, Zeine Ould Zeidane, announced his candidacy on December 18, 2006.[9] Dahane Ould Ahmed Mahmoud announced his candidacy on December 23.[10] Former military ruler Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, who came in second place, behind Taya, in the 2003 presidential election, announced his candidacy on December 27.[11] On January 2, 2007, Mohamed Ould Maouloud, President of the Union of the Forces of Progress, was designated as his party's candidate.[12][13] Former coup attempt leader Saleh Ould Hanenna was chosen by his party, the Mauritanian Party for Union and Change (HATEM), as its candidate on January 9.[14] Ahmed Ould Daddah, the half-brother of Moktar Ould Daddah and the leader of the Rally of Democratic Forces — part of the Coalition of Forces for Democratic Change,[15] which took a large portion of seats in the November–December 2006 parliamentary election[16] — announced his candidacy on January 12.[17] Another former coup attempt leader, Mohamed Ould Cheikhna, announced his candidacy on January 14.[18] On January 20, Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, President of the People's Progressive Alliance (APP), announced his candidacy.[19][20] Chbih Ould Cheikh Melainine announced on February 3 that he was withdrawing his candidacy and backing Haidalla, but he was not allowed to officially withdraw his candidacy, although according to Melainine he had requested the withdrawal two days before the February 4 deadline.[21]

Abdallahi, who ran as an independent, was viewed by some as the candidate representing the ruling junta, and in January he received the backing of an important coalition of 18 parties composed of former supporters of Taya.[22] Abdallahi denied being the junta's candidate.[23] The Coalition of Forces for Democratic Change sent a letter to various international organizations, including the African Union, accusing the junta of "running an open campaign in favour of one candidate" through various methods, including asking influential people in the country to back their favored candidate, although the letter did not directly name Abdallahi as this candidate.[24]

Vall suggested at one point the possibility that, with blank ballots included in the total, no candidate would win a majority of the vote in two rounds, in which case new elections would have to be held. This caused a controversy, and the law was changed so that blank ballots would not count towards the total.[25]

A record 1.1 million of the population of 3.2 million people registered to vote.[26] Prior to the election, the frontrunners were considered to be Daddah, Zeidane and Abdallahi.[27][28]

First round[edit]

On March 12, with about 26% of the vote counted, Abdallahi and Daddah were reported to both have about 25% of the vote; Zeidane was in third place with about 13%.[29] With 86% of the vote counted, Abdallahi led with 22.76% of the vote, while Daddah had 21.46% and Zeidane was third.[30] Later on March 12, Interior Minister Mohamed Ahmed Ould Mohamed Lemine announced the provisional results and said that Abdallahi and Daddah would compete in a second round on March 25.[31][32] Final results were proclaimed by the Constitutional Council on March 15: Abdallahi received 24.80% of the first round vote, while Daddah received about 20.69% and Zeidane received about 15.28%. Messaoud Ould Boulkheir was fourth with about 9.79% of the vote, followed by Ibrahima Moctar Sarr with 7.95%. There were 794,979 voters out of the 1,133,152 who were registered, a turnout rate of 70.16%.[33]

e • d Summary of the 11 March and 25 March 2007 Mauritanian presidential election results
Candidates – Parties 1st round 2nd round
Votes % Votes %
Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi 183,726 24.80 373,520 52.85
Ahmed Ould DaddahRally of Democratic Forces 153,252 20.69 333,185 47.15
Zeine Ould Zeidane 113,182 15.28
Messaoud Ould BoulkheirPopular Alliance for Progress 72,493 9.79
Ibrahima Moctar Sarr 58,878 7.95
Saleh Ould HanennaMauritanian Party of Union and Change 56,700 7.65
Mohamed Ould MaouloudUnion of the Forces of Progress 30,254 4.08
Dahane Ould Ahmed Mahmoud 15,326 2.07
Mohamed Ould Cheikhna 14,200 1.92
Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla 12,813 1.73
Ethmane Ould Cheikh Ebi El Maali 10,868 1.47
Ba Mamadou AlassaneParty for Liberty, Equality and Justice 4,076 0.55
Mohamed Ahmed Ould Baba Ahmed Ould Salihi 2,779 0.38
Moulaye El Hacen Ould JeidMauritanian Party for Renewal and Concord 2,535 0.34
Ch'bih Ould Cheikh Melainine - Popular Front 2,111 0.28
Rajel dit Rachid MoustaphaMauritanian Party for Renewal 1,977 0.27
Sidi Ould Isselmou Ould Mohamed Ahid 1,784 0.24
Isselmou Ould El MoustaphaParty of Democratic Convergence 1,779 0.24
Mohamed Ould Mohamed El Moctar Ould Tomi 1,465 0.20
Mohamed Ould Ghoulam Ould Sidaty 652 0.09
Total valid votes 740,850 100.0 706,705 100.00
Total valid poll(turnout 70.2 %/67.4 ) 794,979 764,045
Sources: African Elections, African Press Agency

Second round[edit]

On March 14, the Islamist "Réformateurs centristes", which supported Hanenna in the first round, backed Daddah for the second round.[34] Hanenna also backed Daddah,[35] as did the candidates Ba Mamadou Alassane,[36] Mohamed Ould Maouloud,[37] and Ibrahima Sarr.[38]

Abdallahi received the support of the third and fourth place candidates from the first round: on March 17, Zeidane announced his support for Abdallahi,[39] and on March 19, Boulkheir also announced his support.[40] Boulkheir's support came in spite of the fact that he was part of the Coalition of the Forces for Democratic Change along with Daddah.[41] Abdallahi also received the support of several minor candidates: Dahane Ould Ahmed Mahmoud, Mohamed Ahmed Ould Babahmed Ould Salihi, Moulaye El Hacen Ould Jiyed, Isselmou Ould Mustapha, and Mohamedou Ould Ghoulam Ould Sidaty.[35]

A televised debate between Abdallahi and Daddah was held on March 22. It was conducted in a non-confrontational style, with the candidates each explaining their positions.[42] The candidates advocated similar policies, including measures against slavery, which persists in the country.[43]

Abdallahi said that it would be easier for him to accomplish things as president because his supporters would constitute a parliamentary majority.[3] He also said that if he won, he would be willing to include Daddah in the government, as long as his allies agreed.[44]

Following the election, on March 26, Interior Minister Mohamed Ahmed Ould Mohamed Lemine declared Abdallahi the winner, saying that he won 52.85% of the vote.[45] Abdallahi won 10 out of the country's 13 regions; Daddah won in Nouakchott, Inchiri Region, and Trarza Region.[46] Turnout was about 67.5%.[45] Daddah accepted the results and congratulated Abdallahi on his victory.[3] The results were confirmed on 29 March 2007.[47]

Abdallahi was sworn in on April 19.[48] He named Zeidane as prime minister the next day,[49] and Boulkheir was elected as president of the National Assembly on April 26.[50]

Candidates – Parties Votes %
Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi 373,520 52.85
Ahmed Ould DaddahRally of Democratic Forces 333,185 47.15
Valid poll: 706,705 100.00
Spoiled votes: 57,340  
Total votes: (turnout 67.4%) 764,045  
Sources: African Elections, African Press Agency

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Election Guide
  2. ^ "Mauritania vote 'free and fair'", BBC News Online, March 12, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c "Abdallahi vows to be a 'reassuring president'", AFP (IOL), March 26, 2007.
  4. ^ "Twenty-one candidates vie for presidency in Mauritania", African Press Agency, January 26, 2007.
  5. ^ "Over 20 candidates register for Mauritania's presidential elections", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), January 27, 2007.
  6. ^ "19 eye Mauritanian election", The Point (The Gambia), March 2, 2007.
  7. ^ "Bio express",, February 25, 2007.
  8. ^ "Ba Mamadou Alassane candidat aux élections présidentielles de 2007", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, July 19, 2006 (French).
  9. ^ "M. Zein Ould Zeidane annonce sa candidature aux élections présidentielles", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, December 18, 2006 (French).
  10. ^ "Dahane Ould Ahmed Mahmoud annonce sa candidature pour les présidentielles", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, December 23, 2006 (French).
  11. ^ "Mauritanian ruler from the 1980s enters post-coup presidential race", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), December 28, 2006.
  12. ^ "L'UFP présente son candidat aux prochaines élections présidentielles", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, January 2, 2007 (French).
  13. ^ "Le Président de l'UFP candidat aux Présidentielles de 2007", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, January 3, 2007 (French).
  14. ^ "Le parti "Hatem" présente M. Salah Ould Hanena, candidat aux élections présidentielles", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, January 9, 2007 (French).
  15. ^ "Q&A: Mauritania elections", BBC News Online, March 9, 2007.
  16. ^ "Mauritanian opposition leader claims victory", DPA (IOL), November 21, 2006.
  17. ^ "M. Ahmed Ould Daddah annonce sa candidature pour les présidentielles à partir de Kiffa", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, January 12, 2007 (French).
  18. ^ "Former putschist to contest presidency in Mauritania", African Press Agency, January 16, 2007.
  19. ^ "Messoud Ould Boulkheir, candidat à la présidentielle mauritanienne de mars", African Press Agency (, January 20, 2007 (French).
  20. ^ "M. Messaoud Ould Boulkheir annonce sa candidature à l'élection présidentielle", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, January 20, 2007 (French).
  21. ^ "Ch'Bih Ould Cheikh Melainine retire sa candidature à la présidentielle de mars 2007", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, February 3, 2007 (French).
  22. ^ "Mauritania candidate gets boost", BBC News Online, January 30, 2007.
  23. ^ "Mauritanian presidential hopeful denies connivance with military junta", African Press Agency, February 1, 2007.
  24. ^ "AU asked to monitor Mauritania poll", al-Jazeera, January 7, 2007.
  25. ^ "EU wants live broadcast for Mauritanian presidential candidates’ debate", African Press Agency, February 8, 2007.
  26. ^ Rukmini Callimachi, "Coup chief returns Mauritania to its people", The Independent (London), March 10, 2007.
  27. ^ "Mauritania set for watershed poll", BBC News Online, March 11, 2007.
  28. ^ "Profile: Three major contestants in Mauritanian presidential race", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), March 11, 2007.
  29. ^ "No clear winner yet in Mauritania", AFP (IOL), March 12, 2007.
  30. ^ "Abdalahi, Daddah enter second round of Mauritanian presidential race", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), March 12, 2007.
  31. ^ "Proclamation des résultats provisoires du 1er tour de la présidentielle", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, March 12, 2007 (French).
  32. ^ Pascal Fletcher, "No clear winner after elections in Mauritania", Reuters (IOL), March 13, 2007.
  33. ^ "Le conseil constitutionnel proclame les résultats du premier tour de l'élection présidentielles du 11 mars 2007", Agence Mauritanienne d'Information, March 15, 2007 (French).
  34. ^ "Présidentielle : premiers soutiens aux candidats en vue du 2e tour", AFP (, March 14, 2007 (French).
  35. ^ a b "The two run-off candidates continue to woo the Mauritanian voters", African Press Agency, March 16, 2007.
  36. ^ "Bâ Mamadou Alassane soutient Ould Daddah au deuxième tour de la présidentielle en Mauritanie", African Press Agency, March 17, 2007.
  37. ^ "Mauritania : Ould Daddah gets support of seventh place holder for presidential runoff", African Press Agency, March 19, 2007.
  38. ^ "Mauritania : Ould Daddah gets support of fifth place holder for presidential runoff", African Press Agency, March 20, 2007.
  39. ^ Ibrahima Sylla, "Abdallahi receives boost ahead of polls", Reuters (IOL), March 19, 2007.
  40. ^ "Debate between Mauritanian presidential candidates to be held on Friday",, March 20, 2007.
  41. ^ "How Sidi Ould Abdellahi won the Mauritanian presidential election", African Press Agency, March 27, 2007.
  42. ^ "Présidentielle : un débat historique pour renforcer la démocratie", AFP (, March 23, 2007 (French).
  43. ^ "Mauritanians vote in presidential run-off",, March 25, 2007.
  44. ^ "Ould Abdellahi vows to form govt with Daddah if elected", African Press Agency, March 25, 2007.
  45. ^ a b "Mauritania has a new president", AFP (IOL), March 26, 2007.
  46. ^ Map of election results.
  47. ^ "Mauritanian constitutional court confirms Cheikh Abdellahi as president", African Press Agency, March 29, 2007.
  48. ^ "Mauritania swears in new president", al-Jazeera, April 19, 2007.
  49. ^ "Mauritanie: Zeine Ould Zeidane nommé Premier ministre", AFP (, April 20, 2007 (French).
  50. ^ "Mauritanie: un ex-opposant élu président de l'Assemblée nationale", AFP (, April 26, 2007 (French).

Further reading[edit]

  • Girod, Desha M.; Walters, Meir R. (2012). "Elite-led democratisation in aid-dependent states: the case of Mauritania". Journal of North African Studies. 17 (2): 181–193. doi:10.1080/13629387.2011.608515. 
  • N'Diaye, Boubacar (2009). "To 'midwife' – and abort – a democracy: Mauritania's transition from military rule, 2005–2008". Journal of Modern African Studies. 47 (1): 129–152. doi:10.1017/S0022278X0800376.