Clashes broke out between police and demonstrators Comoros The day after the announcement of the victory of the outgoing president, Razali Ousmani, in the first half of the presidential elections that took place this week, the opposition considered it fraudulent and demanded the annulment of its results.
The protesters closed some streets in the capital Moroni With barriers made of stones and household tools, while many shops closed their doors yesterday, Wednesday.
Agence France-Presse reported that angry demonstrators set fire to several buildings, including the house of Transport Minister Bianrifi Termzi, and several charred cars and the remains of burning tires were seen in the streets, as if the city was witnessing a gang war.
Police forces cordoned off the center of the capital, which has a population of about 100,000 people. Police, gendarmerie, and army personnel deployed in large numbers in the streets of the cities that witnessed unrest, and major roads were closed.
The election results showed that the outgoing president (Othmani) won a new term in the first round after obtaining 62.97% of the votes. It is noteworthy that Othmani previously led a coup before becoming a civilian president.
The opposition questioned the election results and demanded their cancellation, and called on the people to impose their will and electoral choices by demonstrating to cancel the election results.
The presidential poll recorded a low participation rate of no more than 16.30%, according to the Electoral Commission, which contradicts the initial estimates published on Sunday evening, which amounted to more than 60%.
In a joint statement issued shortly after the announcement of the initial election results, the opposition candidates denounced the elections and demanded their cancellation. “There is no doubt that the ballots conducted on Sunday, January 14, 2024, are invalid,” the joint statement said.
They stressed that official figures on the turnout rate show that about two-thirds of voters voted to elect regional governors and not to choose the president, which “deals a blow to the validity of the announcement of the results.”
The candidates said that the number of participants in voting did not exceed 55,258 voters, while the numbers announced by the official authorities show that 189,497 voters participated in the voting process. Accordingly, they believe that “this large difference proves that there was blatant fraud in the elections.”
The opposition confirmed – last Sunday – that it recorded many violations during the voting operations, while a number of opposition candidates said that soldiers “stopped the vote” by seizing ballot boxes in several areas supportive of opponents of the outgoing president.
For its part, the United Nations called for calm and urged the authorities to protect citizens' right to demonstrate.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, urged the authorities to protect democratic principles, and called on the demonstrators to avoid resorting to violence.
The election results will be presented to the Supreme Court for approval, which is the highest court in a country with a population of about 870,000 people, 45% of whom live below the poverty line.