Comoros. In March, the first controversial presidential election was held since incumbent President Azali Assoumani 2018 pushed through constitutional changes that allow him to run for a second consecutive term. Previously, the presidential post rotated between the three main islands of Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Nzwani (Anjouan) and Mwali (Mohéli). Assoumani did not seem intent on risking a loss. In addition to several leading opposition politicians arrested or driven into exile last year, the president’s most serious competitors were banned by the Supreme Court from running for election.
In March, the head of Assoumani’s campaign claimed that the president had been subjected to an attempted assault by placing explosives on a mountain top in order to trigger a landslide that would hit the president’s car column. The opposition dismissed the information as not credible.
Once the election was held on March 24, the regime was guilty of electoral fraud according to both the domestic opposition as well as representatives of the African Union (AU) and the free trade organization COMESA. No neutral election observers were allowed, pre-filled ballot papers must have appeared and some polling stations opened prematurely. Authorities denied the accusations while the opposition labeled the election a “coup d’état”. The official result showed that Assoumani received 61% of the vote already in the first round of elections and that the turnout was 54%.
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A few days after the election, twelve people formed a group called the National Transitional Council under the leadership of former Colonel Soilihi Mohamed. The group called for civil disobedience to force Assoumani out of the presidential post. Soilihi Mohamed and eight other opposition groups were arrested and a newspaper written about the National Transitional Council was closed. When Mohamed was released almost two weeks later, he resigned from the National Transitional Council and congratulated President Assoumani.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Comoros in 2019 was 850,775, ranking number 163 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.230% yearly, and the population density was 457.2198 people per km2.