Defeated Comoros presidential candidates reject result

Vice President of the Comoros Union and presidential candidate Mohamed Ali Soilihi attends a political rally on April 7, 2016 in Moroni

Moroni (Comoros) (AFP) – Comoros Vice President Mohamed Ali Soilihi, the ruling party’s presidential candidate on Saturday contested the vote results which gave victory to Former coup leader Azali Assoumani.

“I do not recognise these results, which according to me are only partial, ” said Soilihi, who is known as Mamadou.

The Comoros archipelago, situated between Madagascar and Mozambique, has been plagued with coups and political instability.

Colonel Assoumani, 57, won 40.98 percent of Sunday’s vote, narrowly ahead of Mamadou with 39.87 percent, according to the provisional results announced Friday.

The outcome from the second-round vote was announced two days after the expected date.

The team of third-placed presidential candidate Mouigni Baraka, governor of Grande Comore island, who won 19 percent of the votes cast, also rejected the elections results demanding “the annulment, pure and simple, of the presidential election”.

Polling day was peppered with incidents, notably on Anjouan, including broken ballot boxes, interruptions in the voting, accusations of ballot stuffing and acts of violence.

Mamadou claimed that 23 of the 400 polling station on Anjouan, one of the three Comoros islands, were yet to announce their results, adding that the ballots cast there were likely to favour him.

Mamadou called for fresh elections in the affected areas.

– ‘Some irregularities’ –

The pre-election campaigning was marked by personal attacks and allegations of corruption between Mamadou and Assoumani, who was boosted by the support of the opposition Juwa party, which had no candidate in the second round.

Mohamed El-Has Abbas, the minister in charge of elections, admitted to AFP that there had been “many incidents at Anjouan that had marred the voting, “but added that it was the job of the constitutional court to deal with any complaints and pronounce on the legality of the election.

However Assoumani campaign director Said Ali Chayhane  said the second round vote had gone well “despite some irregularities in some (polling) stations which did not put the election results in doubt”.

Assoumani first came to power in 1999 after ousting acting president Tadjidine Ben Said Massounde in a coup.

He then won the presidential election three years later, stepping down when his term ended in 2006.

The first-round vote took place only on Grand Comore island, in line with electoral rules to choose the president on a rotating basis from the three main islands.

Comoros’ system was established in 2001 after more than 20 coups or attempted ones, four of which were successful, in the years following independence from France in 1975.

The three islands that make up the Comoros — Anjouan, Grand Comore and Moheli — have a population of just under 800,000 people, nearly all of whom are Sunni Muslims.

The fourth island of Mayotte voted against independence and is still governed by France.

The islands export vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang perfume essence, but suffer widespread poverty.

Assoumani takes over from outgoing President Ikililou Dhoinine, who completed his five-year term in office.


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