The Comorians voted overwhelmingly in favor of controversial constitutional reforms that will allow President Azali Assoumani to seek another term, voters said.
Ahmed Mohamed Djaza, President of the Comoros National Electoral Commission (CENI), said Tuesday that the vote of "yes" was supported by 92.74% of voters, or 172,240 people
Speaking at a briefing in the capital, Moroni, However, government critics and election observers question the legitimacy of the vote, which was boycotted by the government. opposition and took place in the midst of a crackdown on dissent and a general strike that paralyzed Moroni. "What result: a falsified vote, fabricated figures – this is how President Azali consults the public," said Ahmed el-Barwane, the secretary-general of the opposition party Juwa.
"In the majority of the polling stations visited, fewer than 20 voters were waiting to vote," AFP Jules Hoareau, a member of the Africa Observer Mission, told AFP. # 39; Is. we came back, we observed a sudden stream of ballots at the ballot box, which makes no sense. "
" There was no apocalypse "
The vote was largely peaceful there was no apocalypse … the vote was held. was carried out without major incident. "
Two ballot boxes were destroyed in a polling station in the Hankounou district of Moroni, located on the island of Grande Comore, where a policeman was wounded with a knife in the center. The result allows Assoumani to replace the current system, in which the power turns between the three main islands of the country every five years as a means of balancing the can, with another, who sees a president who can serve a maximum of two five-year terms.
Assoumani will also get the power to eliminate other constitutional checks and balances, including the three vice -presidences of the country and a clause on secularism, which will be replaced by a declaration confirming Islam c as the "religion of the state".
Ninety-nine percent of the 800,000 or so inhabitants of the Comoros are Sunni Muslims.
Assoumani must now hold early elections next year to extend his term, he had promised to step down if his reforms did not pass.
Having seized power during a military coup, Assoumani served as president between 1999 He resigned in 2006, after winning the country's first multiparty elections in 2002.
He returned to the first post of the country in 2016, following an election marked by violence and allegations of electoral irregularities.
|Comoros President Azali Assoumani, on the left, will be able to run again following the politically explosive referendum [Tony Karumba/AFP]|
In April, Assoumani suspended the Constitutional Court for "incompetence". His spokesman said at the time that the institution had become "useless, superfluous and incompetent".
Assoumani banned protests in May and former president Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi was placed under house arrest after returning from abroad.
In June, Ahmed Said Jaffar, one of the country's vice presidents, was deprived of ministerial roles after urging the Comorians to "reject the dangerous abuse of power" in the referendum.
Last week, Moustoidrane Abdou, one of the country's vice presidents, escaped an assassination attempt . Armed Men
The archipelago of the Indian Ocean has suffered repeated blows since its independence from France in 1975 and ranks among the poorest in the world.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies
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