Coup leader-turned-politician General Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz has been declared winner of Saturday's presidential elections by Mauritania’s Interior Ministry. His main rivals, former parliamentary speaker Messaoud Ould Boulkheir and veteran opposition figure Ahmed Ould Daddah have rejected the results as "prefabricated, meant to legitimise the coup that brought General Aziz to power."

Nine candidates are competing for the presidency in Mauritania, in a campaign that runs from July 2nd through the polls on July 18th. Observers believe a balance between majority and opposition leaders in the election – agreed in June's Dakar Agreement – will ensure transparency.

Hanevy Ould Dahah, managing editor of the online newspaper Taqadoumy was on June 18, 2009 arrested and detained by gendarmeries in Nouakchott. The paper reported on its website that Ould Dahah was handcuffed and led to a police station in Nouakchott, the capital.

The official signing ceremony of the Mauritania peace pact, brokered by African Union Facilitator and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday to give time for the Facilitator to witness the signing, official sources told PANA.

General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, former leader of the ruling military junta in Mauritania, who is contesting the controversial 6 June election, says the vote would not be postponed. General Aziz, who resigned his position as President on 15 April to contest the election, told a press conference in Nouakchott that the 6 June date “is a choic e made by the Mauritanian people at the end of the ‘nationwide days for concerted action’ held in December 2008 and January 2009”.