December 29, 2010 / 1:28 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Ruling party wins Comoros presidential vote

* Opposition denounces “fraud” in coup-prone islands

* Monitoring body says vote was generally fair

* First president from Moheli island under rotation deal

By Ahmed Ali Amir

MORONI, Dec 29 (Reuters) - The ruling party’s candidate has won a presidential election in the volatile Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros, official results showed on Wednesday, while the opposition rejected the results as fraudulent.

Ikililou Dhoinine took 61 percent of Sunday’s vote to 33 percent for opposition rival Mohamed Said Fazul, according to figures from the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The head of the national election monitoring group said the elections were “generally free and transparent and the process was acceptable on the whole”.

Fazul denounced what he described as fraud “of such an extent that it puts in doubt the validity of the vote in many polling stations in (the islands of) Anjouan and Grand Comore”. He called for daily demonstrations by his supporters.

Located between Mozambique and Madagascar, the spice-producing islands of fewer than 800,000 people have experienced some 20 coups and attempted coups since independence from France in 1975.

Dhoinine was vice-president to President Ahmed Abdullah Mohamed Sambi, who has ruled since 2006 and failed in an attempt to prolong his stay in office until next year when a law extending his term was annulled.

Dhoinine, a pharmacist by training, would be the first president from the island of Moheli, an opposition stronghold whose residents have complained of exclusion. All the candidates were from Moheli at this election under an agreement to rotate power among representatives of the country’s main islands.

In third place was independent candidate Abdou Djabir, who won 6 percent of the 182,000 ballots cast.

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