Comoros’s ruling party has won an absolute majority in the first round of legislative elections boycotted by the country’s opposition.
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.
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.
Opposition parties have described Sunday’s first round of voting as a “circus” and an “electoral masquerade” and estimated the turnout at just 10%, well below the 61.5% announced by the electoral commission.
“Comorans have again displayed their final rejection of the dictatorship regime by deserting the polling stations,” the opposition said.
President Azali who first came to power through a military coup in 1996, oversaw a referendum in 2018 – boycotted by the opposition – that approved extending the tenure of the president 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.