Mauritanian parties to respond to poll date being delayed.

Mauritanian political parties were set to respond later on Tuesday to a proposal to delay this weekend’s presidential election to next month, Senegalese mediators said.

After five days of intensive talks in the Senegalese capital Dakar, mediators proposed late Monday that the presidential election on Saturday, called by the military junta which toppled last year the country’s first elected president, be delayed to July 18, sources familiar with the negotiations told AFP.

Initially due to meet at 10:30 am local time (1030 GMT) the parties have now delayed the meeting to 5:00 pm (1700 GMT), Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio told journalists Tuesday.

“We are working on the final declaration, we will meet again at 5 pm and if all goes well we will have the decisions,” he said.

Opposition parties have refused to take part in the June 6 vote, calling it a sham designed to legitimise the rule of General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who led the junta until he resigned several weeks ago to stand in the election.

The mediators, which include representatives of the African Union, United Nations, United States and France, also proposed a national unity government made up of an equal number of pro- and anti-putsch ministers to lead the country into the polls.

The prime minister would be selected by Ould Abdel Aziz, although he would be formally nominated by Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who was toppled in the August coup, said the sources.


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