Comoros to Begin Counting Ballots in Presidential Runoff Vote

Comoros will start counting votes from Sunday’s presidential runoff, in which the Indian Ocean archipelago’s vice president in charge of finance and a former coup leader are among the three contenders.

The first round was held Feb. 21 on the island of Grande Comore. The three leading candidates from that vote then competed in Sunday’s polling, which was open to the electorate nationwide, in line with a constitutional system that rotates the federal presidency between Comoros’ three semi-autonomous landmasses.

Vice President Mohamed Ali Soilihi led the first round, with second place taken by local Governor Mouigni Said Baraka Soilihi. Azali Assoumani, who as army chief of staff took power in a 1999 coup before winning elections in 2002 and ruling for another four years, came third. The results of the runoff are due this week, according to the electoral commission.

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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