Comoros Begins Campaigning for Second Round of Presidential Vote

Campaigning began on Comoros for the second round of presidential elections due April 10 even as opposition groups protested the results of the initial vote that chose the three contenders.

The three people vying for the top job on the Indian Ocean archipelago, who include Comoros’ vice president in charge of finance, Mohamed Ali Soilihi, were chosen in a Feb. 21 vote held only on the island of Grande Comore. They’ll compete in polling that’s open to the electorate nationwide, in line with a constitutional provision that rotates the federal presidency between Comoros’ three semi-autonomous landmasses.

Comorian President Ikililou Dhoinine marked Thursday’s beginning of official campaigning by urging citizens to participate. “We have an appointment with history and to succeed everyone must do their part,” he said in an address.

Nineteen of the candidates who took part in the Feb. 21 vote have accused the country’s electoral commission of falsifying the results and some want the ballots tallied again. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in late February said he was following events in Comoros with concern after about 1,000 people marched 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.

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