Mauritania has been ruled by a military junta since August, but President Sidi Cheikh Ould Abdallahi has maintained he is the legal
president. His resignation just after midnight Saturday came after
political wrangling that set the stage for a July 18 vote to choose
a new leader.
As part of the deal, an interim government will take over from the junta and organize the ballot.
Abdallahi says he is ``happy to be the first elected president
(in Mauritania) to have consented to give up power to preserve the
Abdallahi was elected in 2007, but toppled by coup leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)