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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 November 2006, 16:18 GMT
In pictures: Mauritania campaigns

Loud speaker outside campaign tent

After decades of a de facto one-party state, Mauritanians are campaigning loud and clear ahead of Sunday's multi-party legislative and municipal elections.

A Mauritanian woman looks at a poster

More than 1m voters must chose between at least 25 parties and numerous independent candidates representing Islamist, nationalist and leftist political currents.

Shoes on a mat outside campaign tent

The country is taking its first tentative steps towards democracy after the bloodless coup last year removed former President Maaouiya Ould Taya.

Mauritanian women, members of the Assembly of Democratic Forces

A new constitution has been introduced which limits presidential terms and for the first time a minimum of 20% of those elected will be women.

Nomad-style campaign tent

Traditional nomad-style tents have sprung up as campaign rallying points all over the dusty capital city of Nouakchott.

Goats on the Nouakchott's main road

Mauritania is one of the poorest countries in the world, but the recent discovery of offshore oil reserves holds out the promise of increased economic prosperity.

Mauritanian in front of campaign poster

European Union observers say the elections have been well organised, but are concerned that voters - many of whom are illiterate - do not understand the new voting system.

Campaign vehicle

There is also concern that there is no record of how much politicians are spending on their campaigns, and where funding comes from.

Bread seller in Nouakchott

Despite the challenges, many Mauritanians are hopeful for the future, after seeing an improvement in their daily lives since the previous regime was toppled.

Q&A: Mauritania elections
16 Nov 06 |  Africa

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