Article 65 of the Constitution mandates the President to deliver an annual State of the Union address before the National Assembly. President Azali Assoumani fulfilled this obligation on Friday, reflecting on his government’s actions and outlining perspectives, especially in light of the upcoming presidential election on January 14, in which he is a candidate.
Azali Assoumani’s address emphasized unity, extending an invitation to his five opponents to join him in preserving peaceful and democratic political alternation. As both the sitting President and a presidential candidate, he advocated for peace, the consolidation of democracy, and social cohesion.
Citing the law, he cautioned against extremism and extended a hand to his political rivals, stating, “I remain entirely available to continue, with all political actors and civil society in our country, to prioritize all avenues that will ensure the conduct of free, transparent, and democratic elections, from which our country and its people will emerge victorious.”
However, his political adversaries find his speech paradoxical and criticize the President’s conduct. Salim Issa Abdillah, a candidate from the opposition coalition Nalawe, remarked, “How can Azali advocate for democracy when he is the first to flout it? How can Azali ask Comorians to treat candidates equally when he has positioned himself at the top, refusing to take leave and using state resources for his interests? I find that the speech lacks consistency.”
Within his address, Azali Assoumani praised the effective work of institutions responsible for organizing elections. This point of contention with the opposition arises as they continually criticize the behavior of the National Independent Electoral Commission, just two weeks ahead of the presidential election. The political landscape in the Comoros remains charged, with the State of the Union address reflecting both the President’s calls for unity and the ongoing controversies surrounding the upcoming electoral process.