Monday 19 March 2018

Comoros to hold partial re-run of presidential poll on May 11

Comoros to hold partial re-run of presidential poll on May 11
(AFP 05/04/16)

A partial re-run of the presidential election in Comoros will be held in 13 constituencies on May 11, following an order from the constitutional court due to "irregularities" in the second round of the vote last month.

The date for the repeat vote on the Comoran island of Anjouan was announced in a presidential decree signed on Monday, and it could lead to reversing the close election result.

The electoral campaign "will open on May 3 and close on May 9," said the decree from outgoing President Ikililou Dhoinine.

The new ballot could throw into question the entire result of the April 10 run-off because of the narrow margin by which former coup leader Azali 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.

Election 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.

The constitutional court in ordering the re-run said more than 6,000 people had been prevented from voting.

"We await the partial elections calmly," Assoumani was quoted as saying by the state-run daily Al-Watwan on Tuesday.

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 poverty is widespread.

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