Mauritania's new leader takes oath in 1st peaceful transfer

Mauritania's new president takes oath in country's 1st peaceful transfer of power

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania -- Mauritania's new president has taken the oath of office, completing the West African nation's first peaceful transfer of power.

President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani in his first speech on Thursday said Mauritania's people had written an important page in the country's history and confirmed the maturity of its political system.

He succeeds President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who was barred from seeking a third term under the constitution. Aziz had backed Ghazouani, a former defense minister, in the June election that Ghazouani won with 52% of the vote. Turnout was 62%.

Mauritania, a moderate Islamic republic, has suffered five coups since independence from France in 1960. It has been led by military rulers for much of that time.