Voting opens in Comoros presidential election

Moinaecha Djalali, the only woman candidate for the Presidential election of Comoros

Voters in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Comoros began casting their ballots for a new president Sunday from a crowded field of 25 candidates, with a struggling economy and poor infrastructure high on the agenda. 

Polling stations in the country of less than one million people officially opened at 0400 GMT, although some were delayed by the late arrival of voting materials. 

Moinaecha Djalali, the only woman candidate for the Presidential election of Comoros
Moinaecha Djalali, the only woman candidate for the Presidential election in Comoros 

Among those competing in the first-round poll are a former coup leader and the vice president. 

Only voters on Grande Comore island will cast their ballots on Sunday under an unusual electoral system that decrees the president is selected on a rotating basis from one of the three major islands. 

The three leading contenders will then compete in a nationwide vote on April 10 that will decide the successor to President Ikililou Dhoinine. 

Dhoinine comes from the smallest island, Moheli. The other island is Anjouan. 

The system was established in 2001 in a bid to bring stability after more than 20 coups, or attempted coups, in the decades following independence from France in 1975. 

Among the prominent candidates are Vice President Mohamed Ali Soilihi, Mouigni Baraka, the governor of Grande Comore, and Azali Assoumani, who led a coup in 1999 and is a two-time former president.

Voters in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Comoros began casting their ballots for a new president Sunday from a crowded field of 25 candidates, with a struggling economy and poor infrastructure high on the agenda. 

Polling stations in the country of less than one million people officially opened at 0400 GMT, although some were delayed by the late arrival of voting materials. 

Among those competing in the first-round poll are a former coup leader and the vice president. 

Only voters on Grande Comore island will cast their ballots on Sunday under an unusual electoral system that decrees the president is selected on a rotating basis from one of the three major islands. 

The three leading contenders will then compete in a nationwide vote on April 10 that will decide the successor to President Ikililou Dhoinine. 

Dhoinine comes from the smallest island, Moheli. The other island is Anjouan. 

The system was established in 2001 in a bid to bring stability after more than 20 coups, or attempted coups, in the decades following independence from France in 1975. 

Among the prominent candidates are Vice President Mohamed Ali Soilihi, Mouigni Baraka, the governor of Grande Comore, and Azali Assoumani, who led a coup in 1999 and is a two-time former president.

 

– AFP

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