Mauritania: Defence Miniter to run in the upcoming June elections

Mauritania’s Defense Minister Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mohamed Ahmed (Ould El Ghazouani) announced Friday that he would run in the upcoming presidential election scheduled in June. Meanwhile, the Union for the Republic Party backed the decision of Ould El Ghazouani, and inaugurated its second regular national conference in order to elect a new head for the party and to form its authorities and committees.

“All of you must make the necessary effort to make these elections a complete success to enable me to carry out the ambitious program,” said the retired general who is very close to the current president, who is barred from running for a third term, addressing thousands at the Nouakchott stadium in the capital.

Ould El Ghazouani added that Mauritania is preparing for presidential elections that would provide adequate conditions for a serious dialogue on the status of the country after 60 years of independence. There are still many risks and challenges, and a long way to go, he continued.

Born in 1956 in Boumediade (central South), Ould El Ghazouani is descended from a Sufi family of huge social depth in Mauritania. He joined the army in 1978 then occupied several prominent posts in the military institution. He served as Chief of Staff until his retirement last year.

Since last Nov., Ould El Ghazouani has been the minister of defense and he is depicted as the “engineer” of the war waged by Mauritania against terrorist groups.