The people of Comoros voted on Sunday in the first round of a parliamentary election boycotted by opposition parties. Most of the polling stations in Moroni opened later than scheduled on Sunday due to bad weather and were visited by few people, reported Yahoo News.
The opposition parties decided not to contest in the 24 seats in the Comoros national assembly as they failed to obtain guarantees of a transparent, free and democratic election.
President Azali Assoumani secured a second consecutive term in March 2019. That time the critics alleged that the voting was marred by irregularities including barring of independent monitors and marking of ballot papers before voting began. They blamed the election authorities for rigging the poll to ensure Assoumani’s victory.
Among the opposition’s demands in the former French colony has been that its diaspora of roughly 300,000 should be allowed to take part. But Azali’s camp refused to agree to the demand, saying that it would be impossible to meet.
On Sunday, the president, who has denied the allegations, said he regretted the opposition’s absence.
“It’s a shame,” Azali said while voting in his hometown Mitsoudje. “I thought they would participate to take their place in the new assembly.”
Back in November, the president had urged the opposition to drop the boycott threat in the run-up to the vote. He said that his most ardent wish was that the opposition parties participate in the elections because they have a lot to do for the country and the people.
While the absence of official opposition candidates made for a low-key election campaign, tensions appeared within the ruling coalition lately.
Azali’s governing party, the CRC, has accused the Orange party of Interior Minister Mohamed Daoudou of insufficient support for their coalition.
The results of the first round are expected on Monday.