Comoros president’s party wins poll boycotted by opposition

President Azali Assoumani’s party won 17 out of 24 legislative seats, official results show.

Comoros parliamentary election
Opposition parties described the weekend election as a 'circus' and an 'electoral masquerade' [Ibrahim Youssouf/AFP]

Comoros President Azali Assoumani’s party has swept to victory in a parliamentary election boycotted by the opposition, according to official results.

The Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros (CRC) won 17 out of 24 legislative seats, while two other seats went to parties in the presidential coalition.

A second round of voting will take place on February 23 to allocate the remaining five seats, the electoral commission said on Monday.

Opposition parties stayed away from the weekend contest in the Indian Ocean islands’ national assembly after saying they had failed to obtain guarantees of a “transparent, free and democratic” election.

Comoros has had a volatile political history since independence in 1975, enduring more than 20 attempted coups, four of which were successful.

Comoros parliamentary election
Opposition parties said voter turnout was about 10 percent, dismissing the electoral body’s declared estimate of 61.5 percent [Ibrahim Youssouf/AFP]

Azali himself initially came to power in a coup, then ruled between 1999 and 2006. He was re-elected in 2016 in a vote marred by violence and allegations of irregularities.

In a statement, opposition parties described the election as a “circus” and an “electoral masquerade”, estimating a voter turnout of only about 10 percent, dismissing the electoral commission’s declared estimate of 61.5 percent.

“Comorans have again displayed their final rejection of the dictatorship regime by deserting the polling stations,” the parties said.

Azali oversaw a referendum in 2018 – boycotted by the opposition – that approved extending the presidential mandate from one five-year term to two.

He secured a second consecutive term in last year’s polls which critics alleged were rigged and witnesses said ballot boxes were stuffed.

The president has denied the allegations and regretted the opposition’s absence in the weekend vote.

Source: AFP