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In March 2007...

...Mauritania, a West African country that finds itself rarely in the headline news, held presidential elections, which followed a military coup that had swept away a long-standing ruler of the country. The rule of the new president, however, was short-lived - only a year later, he was ousted himself in a military coup d'état. 

The European Union sent international election monitors to Mauritania to provide for transparent, free and fair elections. I was deployed to a small region of southern Mauritania, which consisted mainly of desert regions and the occasional small hamlet half-buried in the sand. 

The two-stage electoral process was supervised by the country's military but undertaken by a civilian electoral body. At many polling stations, Mauritanians waited for hours for their turn to cast their votes. I spent a month in Mauritania as a monitor but also photographing the people and this landmark event.

Brakna and Aleg, he locations of our electoral monitoring mission.

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