Comoros leaders agree to poll timetable

Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:56am GMT
 

By Ahmed Ali Amir

MORONI (Reuters) - Political leaders on the Comoros have agreed to a timetable for new elections, now due to be held by the end of the year, and how the Indian Ocean islands will be run in the meantime, officials said late on Wednesday.

The first round of elections for the governors of the semi-autonomous islands and primaries for the presidency of the Union, which is due to be held next by Moheli, will take place on November 7. A second round of voting will take place on December 26.

Under the constitution, the presidency of the Union of Comoros rotates among the three islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli. But the African Union (AU) has been seeking to end tensions between President Mohamed Abdallah Sambi and his rivals after the leader's term ran out in May.

"Even if we don't take a great deal from this, we believe that the essential thing is to know that there is a timetable for the elections and that it will be guaranteed by the international community," said Mohamed Ismaeila, from the Grand Comoron delegation.

Sambi's mandate expired on May 26 after the Indian Ocean archipelago's Constitutional Court annulled a law extending his term. The court's decision followed weeks of heightened political tension on the coup-prone islands.

While his opponents have accused Sambi of clinging onto power, Sambi's allies have said the impasse is not about political skullduggery but the practicalities of finding funding and logistics for elections.

Under the new agreement, brokered by Franceso Madeira, the AU's special envoy for the islands, each island will send a representative to take part in the government, which will still be overseen by Sambi, as president of the Union.

The elections will be run by a leader from Moheli.   Continued...

<p>Comoran President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi delivers his address during prayers, July 6, 2009. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya</p>
 
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