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Comoros president tipped to win new term amid partial opposition boycott

The former military commander president of Comoros, whose detractors charge him with stifling dissent in the nation of islands in the Indian Ocean, is set to win a fourth term in Sunday’s election.

After a year in office as the African Union’s leader, Assoumani will go up against five opponents. Accusing the electoral commission of favoring the ruling party, several opposition leaders have called for a boycott.

The election will be transparent, the electoral commission has stated in response to this denial.

Regional observation missions, which included representatives from the African Union, declared that the most recent election in 2019 was devoid of legitimacy and rife with anomalies.

The earlier vote followed constitutional reforms that removed a requirement that the presidency rotate among the country’s three main islands every five years, and thus allowed Assoumani to seek re-election.

The changes sparked months of sometimes violent protests in the nation of fewer than 1 million people, which has experienced around 20 coups or attempted coups since winning independence from France in 1975 and is a major source of irregular migration to the nearby French island of Mayotte.

Under the new system, Assoumani, who first took power in a coup in 1999 before stepping down in 2002 and then winning election 14 years later, would be required to step down in 2029.

Since 2019, Assoumani’s government has cracked down on dissent, critics say. Former president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi was sentenced to life in prison in 2022 for high treason related to corruption allegations. Political protests have been repeatedly banned for security reasons.

“Democracy only exists in the lying discourses of Azali,” said the main opposition leader, Mohamed Ali Soilihi, who lives in exile in France and has called for an election boycott.

Assoumani denies that anyone is prosecuted for political reasons and has vowed the election will go ahead successfully despite the boycott calls.

“Those who don’t want the elections to take place have two options: stay at home or leave the country,” he told reporters this week.

On the campaign trail, he has touted the construction of roads, hospitals and other infrastructure during his tenure.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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