In a declaration made on the evening of Tuesday, January 16, Azali Assoumani, the incumbent president, emerged victorious in the Comoros presidential election with an impressive 62.97% of the votes, securing a third consecutive term, as announced by the president of the electoral commission (Céni), Idrissa Said Ben Ahmada.
The former military coup leader achieved his goal of winning in the first round, officially garnering 33,209 votes, equivalent to 62.97% of the expressed suffrages. Notably, the election witnessed a strikingly low turnout of 16.30%, a figure highlighted by our special envoy in Moroni, David Baché.
This turnout is notably lower and somewhat perplexing, considering that the Céni had initially indicated an estimated participation rate of over 60% on Sunday evening. Dr. Salim Issa Abdallah of the Juwa party secured the second-highest number of votes with 20.26%. The remaining four opposition candidates garnered between 1% and 5.88% of the votes. It is challenging to characterize Azali Assoumani’s victory as a resounding mandate, given the remarkably low voter participation, especially for a presidential election.
It is crucial to note that a faction of the opposition had called for a boycott, and many Comorians expressed skepticism about the electoral process, believing it to be predetermined. This morning, international observers from the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) and the African Union (AU) asserted that, overall, the election had taken place in a free and transparent manner. This assertion has sparked controversy among the five opposition candidates who, jointly on Sunday night, even before the conclusion of the voting, had denounced fraud and ballot stuffing.
Nevertheless, tonight, Azali Assoumani can celebrate his victory and continue his presidency, a position he has held since 2016 and will retain until 2029. The re-elected Comorian president has called for opposition leaders to demonstrate “fair play” from the headquarters of his political movement in the capital: “My competitors must follow legal procedures; they must be fair play.”