In a contested election marked by allegations of fraud, Comoros President Azali Assoumani has clinched a fourth term, garnering 63% of the vote, as reported by the electoral body Ceni. The opposition has decried the poll as “fraudulent,” citing instances of ballot stuffing and premature closure of polls, according to Reuters.
Six candidates vied for the presidency in the Indian Ocean archipelago during the January 14 election. Mouigni Baraka Said Soilihi, one of Assoumani’s opponents, dismissed the results, stating, “We cannot talk about results because there was no election,” as per Reuters.
With over 330,000 registered voters in a population estimated at 836,000 by the World Bank, the election unfolded amid controversy. Azali Assoumani, a former military officer, initially seized power through a coup in 1999 and won his first election in 2002. After a brief exit from politics in 2006, he returned with a victory in the 2016 presidential election.
The path to Assoumani’s fourth term was paved by a contentious 2018 referendum that eliminated presidential term limits, triggering widespread protests in the country.
Throughout his rule, Assoumani has faced criticism, being accused of imprisoning and exiling his political opponents. Despite the controversies, he currently serves as the chairperson of the African Union.