Mauritanians are voting for a new president as the incumbent leader warned that only his chosen successor can maintain stability in the West African country, while the opposition said it saw “worrying signs” of election irregularities.

The election on Saturday is the first in the nation’s coup-strewn history that looks set to see an elected president complete his mandate and transfer power to an elected successor, although the opposition has raised concerns that the vote could perpetuate a government dominated by military figures.

Some 1.5 million people are entitled to choose among six presidential candidates in the predominantly Muslim Saharan state.

Polling stations opened at 07:00 GMT and will close at 19:00 GMT, with preliminary results expected at the start of next week.

Mauritania‘s outgoing President

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