Voters in Mauritania face 2nd round of legislative elections

A man casts his vote on September 1, 2018 at the polling station in Nouakchott for the country's legislative, regional and local elections. - Mauritania, a frontline state in the fight against Islamic extremism, voted on September 1 in legislative, regional and local elections that will test head of state Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz's record seven months before a presidential vote. Military personnel cast their ballots Friday to free themselves up to provide security in the vast and arid west African state with a registered electorate of some 1.4 million. (Photo by AHMED OULD MOHAMED OULD ELHADJ / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMED OULD MOHAMED OULD ELHADJ/AFP/Getty Images)
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritanian casts his vote in the country ‘s constitutional referendum on August 5, 2017 at the polling station in Nouakchott. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Voters in Mauritania are going to the polls for a second round of legislative, municipal and regional elections under tight security as the ruling party seeks to strengthen its majority in Parliament.

President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, whose second and final term ends next year, hopes to keep the ruling party in power in the 2019 presidential election.

His Union for the Republic party secured a majority of Parliament seats in the first round of voting earlier this month while the opposition won a third of the seats.

Mauritania, like several other West African nations, faces a growing threat from extremists as well as the day-to-day challenge of underdevelopment.

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