The constitutional court in Comoros validated the results of the first round of presidential elections held last month even as opposition leaders vowed to protest the decision.
The court in the Indian Ocean island nation said in a statement late Saturday it approved the tally as announced by the electoral commission on Feb. 23. The first round was held on Feb. 21 on the island of Grande Comore. The three leading candidates will compete April 10 in a second round open to the electorate nationwide, in line with a constitutional system that rotates the federal presidency between Comoros’ three semi-autonomous landmasses.
Hours before the court’s decision was announced, a spokesman representing 20 candidates who didn’t garner enough votes to continue to the second round said they rejected the results.
“We want the ballots to be counted again, otherwise there won’t be a second round,” Ibrahim Hissani told reporters in the capital, Moroni.
The country of 770,000 people with a $624 million economy has had more than 20 coups or attempts at seizing power since it gained independence from France in 1975.