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Mauritania sets June 21 for presidential polls

Deep difference continue between Mauritania government, opposition over election guarantees before holding polls
Potential candidates have until May 5 to apply for the elections (AA)

NOUAKCHOTT – The Mauritanian presidency has set June 21 for the first round of the country's presidential elections amid deep differences between the government of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the opposition over guarantees before holding the polls.

A presidential decree announced by state-run television on Sunday night opened the window for potential candidates to apply for the elections until May 5.

A run-off, if needed, will take place on July 5, the decree said.

The opposition has been calling for guarantees for fair and transparent elections, including the impartiality of the army and security forces as well as the agencies responsible for conducting the polls and voter registration.

Abdel Aziz previously said he does not mind reshuffling the independent commission that would oversee the elections. Yet, he strongly rejected the formation of a new government to run the polls.