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Mauritania opposition plans to boycott presidential election

A coalition of Mauritania's most prominent opposition parties says they will boycott next month's presidential election, complaining that opposition leaders were not sufficiently consulted before the date was set.

The 17-party National Forum for Democracy and Unity said Sunday the June 21 election date, announced last month, was chosen unilaterally despite government-initiated talks between the two sides.

President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz assumed power in the West African nation in a 2008 coup. He won a presidential vote the following year and has since become a key ally of the West in the fight against terrorism.

His party, the Union of the Republic, secured a majority of seats in last year's parliamentary elections, which were also boycotted by much of the opposition. If necessary, a runoff will be July 5.

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