Mauritania profile - Leaders
President: Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz took power in a coup in 2008, and was elected president the following year.
He gained another five-year term in June 2014 with almost 82% of the vote in an election boycotted by most of the opposition.
Most opposition parties also boycotted the 2013 parliamentary elections, saying the organisers were biased and the process flawed. The president has been a key ally of the West in fighting Al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremists in the Sahara region.