There will be seven on the starting line. The presidential election on June 29 in Mauritania will pit the outgoing head of state, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, and six other men, according to the final list of candidates published Monday May 20 by the Constitutional Council. Mr. Ghazouani, 67, at the head since 2019 of this vast country of around 4.5 million inhabitants at the crossroads between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, is the favorite for a second term.

The Constitutional Council did not accept the candidacy of its predecessor, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who had fallen into disgrace under Mr. Ghazouani, who had been one of his most faithful companions in the past and whose election he had prepared in the presidency following him in 2019. Mr. Aziz is now imprisoned. He was sentenced in December 2023 to five years in prison for illicit enrichment. He denies having abused his power to amass a fortune and has always called it a conspiracy.

No jihadist attacks since 2011

Justice had, against all expectations, authorized Mr. Aziz to leave prison to submit his candidacy to the Constitutional Council last week. But the Council immediately declared the file inadmissible for technical reasons, including the insufficiency of the required sponsorships, said a source close to the body.

Other candidates include the leader of the opposition Islamist Tewassoul party, Hamadi Ould Sid’El Moctar, and human rights activist Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, runner-up in the 2019 presidential election. Mauritania has experienced a succession of coups. State from 1978 to 2008, before the 2019 election marked the first transition between two elected presidents. While jihadism spread elsewhere in the Sahel, the country has not seen an attack since 2011.