A statement from the presidency said potential candidates had until May 8 to declare their intention to stand. So far, anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Abeid is the only one to do so. The statement came after weeks of talks between the ruling party and opposition parties failed to reach agreement on the election's date and rules. Opposition parties say the electoral commission, which will oversee the poll, favors the president as it is currently constituted because its members are close to him. Moussa Fall, executive director of the opposition Forum for Democracy and Unity, denounced the communique and said by naming an election date the ruling majority was effectively unilaterally suspending those talks.
There are still no clear guarantees on the ground rules and transparency of the elections. Even so, we reiterate our willingness to resume talks," Fall told Reuters on Monday. Ten opposition parties, including the main Rally of Democratic Forces (RFD) party led by Ahmed Ould Daddah, boycotted legislative elections in December and accused the government of rigging the poll which was won by the ruling Union for the Republic.