NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania – Mauritanians are voting to choose their next president but with the major opposition parties boycotting, the incumbent seems certain to hold on to power.
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who assumed power in a coup in 2008 and won elections a year later, has been a staunch ally of the West in facing the growing terror threat in West Africa, where militants roam vast ungoverned spaces and an al-Qaida-linked group took over parts of neighboring Mali in 2012.
On the edge of the Sahara, Mauritania is one of the world's poorest countries with great economic inequality. Even though illegal, slavery persists.
Security forces guarded polling stations, where there were few lines as voters quickly cast their ballots Saturday.
Aziz faces four candidates, one of whom is the descendent of slaves.