Nouakchott - Polls opened on Saturday in an election in
Mauritania widely expected to hand a new term in office to ex-army general and
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
In several polling stations in the capital Nouakchott,
small groups lined up before polls officially opened at 0700 GMT.
More than 1.3 million people are called to vote in the
vast Arabic-speaking, largely desert country linking North and sub-Saharan
Abdel Aziz, who seized power in a 2008 coup, is poised to
romp to victory as the main opposition parties have vowed to boycott the vote.
Opposition politicians have never accepted Abdel Aziz's
2009 election victory they say was marred by massive fraud.
The 57-year-old has built his career on a decisive
campaign against al-Qaeda extremists in Mauritania, viewed by the West as a
strategically important location in the battle against militants across the