As the ongoing electoral campaign, initiated on November 17th, gains momentum, the slated presidential election scheduled for January 14th took center stage on Monday, January 8th, during the annual New Year’s wishes ceremony of the Head of State.
Journalists seized the opportunity to question President Azali Assoumani about the composition of the National Independent Electoral Commission. The opposition candidates have criticized the commission for its alleged bias in favor of the incumbent president.
President Azali Assoumani emphatically addressed the concerns, stating that if there were any deviations, it is not sufficient to merely assert them; one must specifically identify the responsibility of the National Electoral Commission before the competent authorities. Nevertheless, he reiterated his trust in the institution, stating, “The structures established for these elections have received international approval; the Americans have written to us thanking us for the smooth process. Those claiming violations by CENI or CEII should also specify which text has been violated by them.”
The opposition contends that there exists a stark disparity between the president’s statements and actions regarding CENI. Daoud Halifa, spokesperson for candidate Bourhane Hamidou, criticized President Azali, stating, “Azali lives in a bubble, someone who, through constant lies, takes their falsehoods for realities and turns them into a distorted truth. Of course, we will approach the court, but it will be the same, without any follow-up. How many appeals have we made since the beginning of the process, and we have received no response?”
Regarding the security of the electoral process, President Azali Assoumani assured that the gendarmerie and national police, as agreed in the consultation framework, will be responsible, expressing hope that there will be no need to involve the military.
As the electoral atmosphere intensifies in Comoros, the dynamics between the government and the opposition, especially concerning the electoral commission’s integrity, will continue to shape the narrative leading up to the crucial presidential election on January 14th.