Comoros elections start


Voting began on Sunday in the first round of Comoros? legislative elections with the second round scheduled for Dec 20.

Witnesses said that early ballot casting was peaceful but thin after the delay which was blamed on logistical problems.

Candidates of the coalition of President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi are seeking votes on the basis of the stabilisation of the Indian Archipelago?s heavily indebted economy.

They also point to a period of relative political calm after the removal of a self-declared rebel leader from power on the island of Anjouan in 2008.

One of the new assembly?s first tasks will be to ratify a ?Yes? vote in a referendum earlier this year to extend the presidential term and align together federal and local elections.

Voters will elect 24 parliamentarians from more than 140 candidates over two rounds.

A further three members of the national assembly are chosen by each of the archipelago?s three islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli, bringing the total number to 33.

Around 20 observers from the African Union (AU) will monitor the elections, which have been funded with help from the AU, the European Union, the Arab League, France and Libya.

Sambi, 51, was elected in 2006 in the first ever peaceful transfer of power in the Comoros, which has seen 19 coups and coup attempts since its independence from France in 1975.

The Comoros is formed by Ngazidja, Mwali, Nzwani and Maore, the major islands in the Comoros Archipelago, as well as many minor islets. The islands are officially known by their Comorian language names.

The capital and largest city, Moroni, is located on Ngazidja. The country has a population of below one million.

Brunei FM

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