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News photos from the week of March 9-15, 2007
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Chenguetti, Mauritania, March 11, 2007—A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in the desert town of Chenguetti, about 311 miles (500 kilometers) northeast of Mauritania's capital city of Nouakchott.

On March 11 the West African country held peaceful democratic elections for a civilian president—the culmination of a bloodless coup 19 months ago that replaced authoritarian President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya with a transitional military government.

The vote was inconclusive, however, and will move into a second round between two leading candidates on March 25. Many Mauritanians are hopeful that the winner will address issues of widespread poverty and racial inequality in the predominantly Muslim country which straddles African and Arab lands.

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