2020 Comorian legislative election

Legislative elections were held in the Comoros on 19 January 2020; in constituencies where no candidate received a majority, a second round was held alongside local elections on 23 February. The elections were boycotted by the main opposition parties, including the two largest parties in the outgoing parliament, the Union for the Development of the Comoros and Juwa Party, in protest at constitutional reform and political repression,[2][3][4] The result was a landslide victory for President Azali Assoumani's Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros, which won 20 of the 24 elected seats.

2020 Comorian legislative election
Comoros
← 2015 19 January 2020 (first round)
23 February 2020 (second round)

24 (of the 33) seats in the Assembly of the Union
17 seats needed for a majority
Party Leader % Seats ±
CRC Youssoufa Mohamed Ali 60.9% 20 +18
Orange Party Mohamed Daoudou [fr] 4.3% 2 +2
Independents 30.8% 2 -1
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
President of the Assembly before
Abdou Ousseni
UPDC (expelled)[1]

BackgroundEdit

Following decades when the politics of the Comoros was shaped by dictatorship, frequent coups, and civil war, the adoption of the December 2001 Constitution inaugurated the only sustained democratic order in the country since its independence from France in 1975. Azali Assoumani, the leader of the last successful military coup in 1999, remained as president after winning multi-party elections in March 2002. Constitutionally barred from serving consecutive terms, Assoumani stepped down from the presidency for a decade in 2006, before being reelected in 2016.

Beginning in late 2017, President Assoumani promoted a vision to make the Comoros into a developing nation by 2030.[5] On 12 April 2018 he "temporarily" suspended the elected Constitutional Court and transferred its duties to a new Constitutional Chamber within the Supreme Court whose members he had appointed.[6][7] Two weeks later, Assoumani announced that a series of consultations held with representatives of the nation during the preceding months had determined that to realize his vision of development a referendum should be held to revise the constitution.[8]

The constitutional referendum held in July 2018 proposed to permanently abolish the Constitutional Court as well as eliminate the ban on consecutive presidential terms, and amend the Fomboni Agreement reached at the end of the civil war whereby the first round of presidential elections was held on only one of the nation's three islands, rotating between them every five years;[9] instead establishing a two-term limit and alternation between the islands only every ten years, with both cycles to begin anew in 2019.[10]

In the months leading up to the referendum, weekly protests against "authoritarian rule" and clashes with the police occurred in the capital, Moroni. The opposition parties declared a boycott of the poll, and their leaders were detained by the army.[11][12] The vice president and other members of the administration publicly condemned the proposed reforms, and were sacked by presidential decree.[13] Nevertheless, official results claimed 92.34% support for the constitutional amendments.[7] In the wake of the referendum on Anjouan, the island due to elect the next president according to the now-overturned Fomboni Agreement, a revolt broke out which the military put down by force, and which the administration blamed on "terrorists, as well as drug addicts and alcoholics".[14]

Claiming that he was now eligible to serve for another ten years, Assoumani called a new presidential election in 2019, two years early. The Supreme Court barred the candidates of all major opposition parties from running.[15] Former president and Juwa Party head Ahmed Abdallah Sambi was placed under house arrest; other opposition leaders who went into hiding were tried in absentia and given life sentences at hard labor.[16][17] The parties prevented from running candidates formed a united organization, the National Council of Transition, and again declared a boycott and protest movement against the "electoral coup d'etat".[18] Assoumani claimed victory in the election in which all other candidates were independents unaffiliated with a political party.[19][20]

Both protests and the government's measures to suppress dissent escalated after the March 2019 vote.[21] Multiple presidential candidates who rejected the official results were injured or arrested by the police, including one who was shot.[22] Journalists were detained, newspaper issues confiscated, and printing presses raided, in response to which private media declared a boycott of government press conferences.[23]

During an extraordinary session of the Assembly held on the evening of 3 September 2019, the administration won a vote on an enabling act giving President Assoumani the authority to rule by decree, to take any measures deemed necessary to conduct new parliamentary elections.[24] This power was used to strip representatives of parliamentary immunity during a new round of arrests and prosecutions of opposition figures.[25][26] To prevent the passage of an amnesty bill intended to prevent imprisonment for political activity, the government closed the Assembly on 31 December, before its mandate was set to expire in March 2020.[27][28]

Electoral systemEdit

The 33 members of the Assembly were elected by two methods: 24 members were directly elected in single-member constituencies using the two-round system, whilst nine members (three from each) were elected by the Island assemblies of Anjouan, Grande Comore and Mohéli.[29]

CampaignEdit

A total of 81 candidates were approved to contest the 24 Assembly seats, including 45 independents and 35 candidates from the three parties of L'Alliance de la Mouvance Présidentielle; 21 the CRC, seven from RADHI, led by the manager of Assoumani's 2019 re-election campaign, Houmed Msaidie, and seven from the Orange Party, led by Minister of the Interior, Mohamed Daoudou, who also organized the elections and oversaw the prosecution of opposition figures.[30][31][32] Only one candidate from an opposition party ran, representing the Democratic Rally of the Comoros, the party led by former Grand Comore Governor Mouigni Baraka.[33][34]

The period leading up to election day was noted for the absence of rallies and other forms of mass mobilization typical of previous campaigns.[35][36] One independent candidate was arrested, allegedly for engaging in opposition activity.[37] The campaigns of the parties in L'Alliance de la Mouvance Présidentielle emphasized a message of mobilizing people behind national development. Representatives of RADHI and the Orange Party insisted their parties were independent and contributed to a real competition of ideas, claiming a special responsibility to hold President Assoumani and the CRC accountable and check any future abuses of power.[38]

Preliminary resultsEdit

 
Party First round Second round Total
seats
+/-
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros 113,826 60.94 16 18,318 54.09 4 20 +18
Orange Party 8,073 4.32 1 6,382 18.85 1 2 +2
RADHI 4,949 2.65 0 310 0.92 0 0 –1
Democratic Rally of the Comoros 2,370 1.27 0 0 –2
Independents 57,555 30.82 2 8,853 26.14 0 2 –1
Nominated members 9 0
Invalid/blank votes 9,000 3,729
Total 195,773 100 19 37,592 100 5 33 0
Registered voters/turnout 313,649 62.42 59,860 62.80
Source: CENI CENI

Elected MPsEdit

Constituency Candidate Party
Dewa Chamina Ben Mohamed Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Msoutrouni & Moimbassa Abdallah Said Sarouma Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Djando Said Assane Madi Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Mledjele Anfani Hamada Bacar Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Sima Moustadroine Abdou Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Mutsamudu I Hayda Nourdine Sidi Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Mutsamudu II Abou Achirafi Ali Bacar Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Ouani Mouhouyouddine Affraitane Independent
Cuvette Ladaenti Houmadi Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Domoni I Salim Mohamed Abderemane Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Domoni II Adnani Mouhammadi Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Nioumakele I Mohamed Ahmed Said Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Nioumakele II Mohamed Mourchidi Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Moroni North Abdou Said Mdahoma Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Moroni South Djoumoi Idjabou Mroivili Orange Party
Bambao Maoulida Mmadi Issihaka Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
OichiliDimani Zoubeiri Mohamed Ahmed Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Itsandra North Abdul Aziz Mohamed Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Itsandra South Hassani Mohamed Orange Party
MitsamiouliMboude Mohamed Ahamada Baco Independent
Hambou Dawiat Mohamed Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
HamahametMboinkou Ali Mohamed Abdou Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Ngouengwe Ali Said Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros
Itsahidi Abdou-Rahim Mistoihi Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Politics / Five deputies suspended yesterday by the UPDC political bureau". al-watwan.net. (in French)
  2. ^ "Opposition MP arrested on the eve of the legislative elections". VOA. 15 January 2020. (in French)
  3. ^ "Comoros leader urges opposition to drop vote boycott". Yahoo News. 14 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Comorians at the polls for the first round of the legislative elections". RFI. 19 January 2020. (in French)
  5. ^ "STRATEGIE DE CROISSANCE ACCELEREE ET DE DEVELOPPEMENT DURABLE" (PDF). Union des Comoros, Secretariat General de la Presidence. 31 December 2017. (in French)
  6. ^ "Comoros president suspends constitutional court". New Vision. 19 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Power grab destabilises Comoros". New African. 24 October 2018.
  8. ^ "The conclusions of the meetings submitted to the referendum in July". Presidency of the Republic of the Comoros. 30 April 2018. (in French)
  9. ^ "IRIN Briefing on separatist crisis". The New Humanitarian. 7 November 2001.
  10. ^ "Comoros, forced march towards the presidential election". La Croix. 19 February 2019. (in French)
  11. ^ "Comoros: 3 opposition leaders arrested during anti-referendum protest". Africanews. 23 June 2018.
  12. ^ "In the Comoros, the opposition boycots the referendum intended to strengthen the powers of the president". L'Express. 30 July 2018. (in French)
  13. ^ "Discordant voices sacked in Comoros". RFI. 14 July 2018. (in French)
  14. ^ "Comoros: Civilians flee strife-torn city on Anjouan island". Al Jazeera. 18 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Azali Assoumani's main opponents blocked from Comoros Presidential Elections". Afrika News.
  16. ^ "Senior Comoros opposition figures handed life sentences". Daily Mail. 16 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Comoros: new prison sentences for members of the opposition". France TV. 18 December 2018. (in French)
  18. ^ "In the Comoros: The Muzzled Voices of the Opposition". Lundi.am. 18 July 2019. (in French)
  19. ^ "Comoros: closing of the presidential candidacy deposit". RFI. 24 January 2019. (in French)
  20. ^ "Former Army Chief in Coup-Prone Comoros Rejects Vote Results". Bloomberg. 28 March 2019.
  21. ^ "At Least Three Dead in Gunfight in Comoros After Opposition Moves to Unseat President". U.S. News. 28 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Comoros elections: Several candidates were injured". Mayotte 1. 28 March 2019. (in French)
  23. ^ "Comoros authorities begin crackdown on media". Blitz-CPJ News. 11 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Comoros: the assembly entrusts to the president the powers to organize the legislative". Le Figaro. 4 September 2019. (in French)
  25. ^ "Three Comorians seeking asylum in Madagascar: The Dircab of the Interior Ministry of the Comoros demands an arrest warrant". Madagasikara. 13 September 2019. (in French)
  26. ^ "Comoros: the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of three deputies questions". 54États. (in French)
  27. ^ "Comoros: opposition MPs denounce executive interference". RFI. 31 December 2019. (in French)
  28. ^ "Comoros: parliamentary session closed in anger". RFI. 1 January 2020. (in French)
  29. ^ Electoral system IPU
  30. ^ "Comoros president survives assassination attempt". The East African. 7 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Comorians at the polls to elect their deputies". Africanews. 19 January 2019. (in French)
  32. ^ "Comoros Clashes Make Political Casualty as Critic Arrested". Bloomberg. 22 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Speech by Mouigni Baraka, on the occasion of New Year 2020". Comores-infos. 31 December 2019. (in French)
  34. ^ "Legislative of 2020 / A battle between candidates allies of the Presidential Movement". Al-Watwan. 10 December 2019. (in French)
  35. ^ "Comoros legislative elections: a campaign without the slightest enthusiasm". RFI. 5 January 2020. (in French)
  36. ^ "Gloomy campaign for legislative boycotted by the opposition". VOA. 9 January 2019. (in French)
  37. ^ "MP Ben Omar arrested". Comores-infos. 14 January 2020. (in French)
  38. ^ "Youssoufa Mohamed Ali: "The position of the CRC is that of the Presidential Movement Alliance"". Al-Watwan. 1 November 2019. (in French)