President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani, has been anticipated to land a fourth term on Sunday’s election, which opposition parties have called for a boycott.
Assoumani, who served as the chairman of the African Union (AU) for the past year, will face five opponents.
The former military officer has been accused by his detractors of stifling dissent in the nation of islands in the Indian Ocean.
The opposition leaders calling for a boycott claim the electoral commission functions in favour of the ruling party.
The electoral commission, which has refuted this, has urged that the election would be transparent.
Regional observation teams, including those from the African Union, claimed that the most recent election in 2019 was rife with anomalies and bias
The earlier poll was held following constitutional amendments that let Assoumani run for reelection by lifting the condition that the presidency must alternate between the nation’s three main islands every five years.
Comoros, with a population of fewer than a million people, has seen about 20 coups or attempted coups since gaining independence from France in 1975.
The African state saw months of often violent protests in response to the reforms.
The Southeast country is also a key source of irregular migration to the nearby French island of Mayotte.
Assoumani, who seized power in a coup in 1999, resigned in 2002, and then won an election 14 years later, would have to stand down under the new system in 2029.
Opponents claim that Assoumani’s government has clamped down on dissent since 2019.
The former president, Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, was found guilty of high treason in connection with charges of corruption in 2022 and given a life sentence.
Political protests have been frequently prohibited for security concerns.
“Democracy only exists in the lying discourses of Azali,” said major opposition leader Mohamed Ali Soilihi, who is in exile in France and has declared an election boycott.
Assoumani has promised that the election will proceed smoothly despite the demands for a boycott and disputes the idea that anyone is being persecuted for political motives.
“Those who don’t want the elections to take place have two options: stay at home or leave the country.” The president told reporters this week.
He has bragged on the campaign trail about building roads, hospitals, and other infrastructure while in office.