Comoros court orders partial re-run of presidential poll
The Comoros constitutional court on Saturday ordered a partial re-run of the country's April 10 presidential ballot due to "irregularities", a decision that could reverse the close election result.
In a court ruling, president of the Constitutional Court Loutfi Soulaimane asked newly-elected leader Azali Assoumani and elections minister Mohamed el-Had Abbasto to take steps to re-run the second-round poll in 13 constituencies by May 15.
The repeat vote could throw into the question the entire election result because of the narrow margin by which former coup leader Assoumani won, according to provisional results.
Assoumani took 40.98 percent of the vote, narrowly ahead of Vice President Mohamed Ali Soilihi, the ruling party's presidential candidate, who picked up 39.87 percent.
Polling day was peppered with incidents, notably on Anjouan, one of the three islands which make up the Indian Ocean archipelago situated between Madagascar and Mozambique, including broken ballot boxes, interruptions in the voting, accusations of ballot stuffing and acts of violence.
Nineteen of the 25 candidates who stood in the first round rejected the outcome of that vote and demanded a recount, but the Constitutional Court ruled against them at the time.
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 three islands that make up the Comoros -- Anjouan, Grand Comore and Moheli -- have a total population of just under 800,000 people, nearly all of whom are Sunni Muslims.
The islands export vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang perfume essence, but suffer widespread poverty.