NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) — Some 1.4 million people in Mauritania are going to the polls for legislative, regional and municipal elections that will position the West African nation for next year's presidential vote.

Mauritania, like other nations in the region, faces a growing threat from extremists as well as the day-to-day challenge of underdevelopment.

Nearly 100 political parties have put forward candidates, with close to 5,000 people running for the National Assembly alone.

The vote is unfolding calmly and amid tight security, with African Union observers in attendance.

President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz next year completes his second and final two-year term in office.

Final results of Saturday's election could be released as early as Monday.