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I'm in #Mauritania's capital #Nouakchott for @MiddleEastEye to report on tomorrow's presidential election, which is likely to lead to the first ever peaceful transition of power since the country gained independence from #France in 1960. (Thread)
Mock Bedouin tents with singers extolling the virtues of contenders long into the night have been pitched up along the palm-lined streets of the city centre, as the desert pays a visit to downtown Nouakchott.
At a traditional tent gathering in the Sahara, voters backed frontrunner Mohamed Ould #Ghazouani, a former army chief who has the blessing of current president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Most there were Arab-Berbers which make up just 30% but dominate politically and economically.
Then there is Sidi Mohamed Ould #Boubacar who is backed by Tawassul, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been on the receiving end of a crackdown by President Abdel Aziz. Tawassul are the main opposition and have a diverse base.
#Biram Dah Abeid is trying to capture the black vote. Born to slaves, he seeks to abolish a system that still persists in parts of the country.

His supporters are poor #Haratins, descendants of slaves, who despite being the largest ethnic group, sit at the foot of society.
National unity, alleviating poverty and improving the understaffed, overcrowded public schools attended almost exclusively by Haratins, are some of the burning issues facing Mauritanians. There will be a second round of voting on July 6 if no candidate wins 50%.
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