Comoros Leader Begins Controversial Fourth Term

Comoros President Azali Assoumani began his fourth term by pledging to pursue peace and rapid economic growth, despite his opponents’ claims that January’s election was tainted by voter fraud. The tense poll sparked violent protests that left one dead and over 25 injured in this island nation off Mozambique’s coast.

Though the election body declared Assoumani re-elected with 63% of the votes, opposition leaders alleged irregularities like ballot stuffing and premature poll closures. The government denied these claims. At his inauguration ceremony, the former army officer called for unity, saying “After this inauguration, I invite civil society, the opposition, and all political actors to put aside differences in favor of peace and democracy.” He vowed not to disappoint voters who renewed their trust and to grow the economy by 5% annually.

Comoros has experienced rampant political instability, with around 20 coups or attempted coups since independence from France in 1975. It’s also a major source of irregular migration to nearby Mayotte, a French territory. Assoumani himself first took power in a 1999 coup before winning elections in 2016.

His re-election bid was enabled by 2018 constitutional reforms scrapping the requirement to rotate the presidency between Comoros’ three main islands every five years. At the swearing-in, Assoumani, donning the presidential green and yellow sash, highlighted Comoros’ history of post-election disputes but said this wasn’t exceptional. He framed his new term as focused on reconciliation, development, and adhering to democracy despite the inauspicious start.

About Geraldine Boechat 2735 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia