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31 Jul 2018 | 03:56 PM UTC

Comoros: Constitutional amendments approved by referendum July 31 /update 2

Comoros News Alert

Constitutional amendments approved by July 30 referendum; 92.74 percent of Comorians vote yes to constitutional changes

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/30/2018, 12:00 AM until 8/4/2018, 11:59 PM (Indian/Comoro). COUNTRY/REGION Comoros

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Event

An estimated 92.74 percent of Comorian nationals approved proposed constitutional amendments during a referendum held on Monday, July 30. According to the country's electoral commission, 63 percent of eligible voters participated in the referendum. Opposition members had previously denounced the referendum and are likely to denounce the results. Related protests are possible in the coming hours and days.

Context

The referendum will amend the constitution to allow for two five-year presidential terms rather than the current limit of a single five-year term. It will also do away with the current system where the position rotates every five years between the archipelago's islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli. The amendment will also eliminate the three  vice presidential positions as well as the Constitutional Court. Islam will also become the state religion.

As the referendum passed, the next presidential election will be held in 2019 instead of 2021. Tensions were high in the run-up to the referendum, as it is widely regarded as an attempt by President Azali Assoumani to extend his term. Some violence was reported during voting in the capital city of Moroni (Grande Comore island), including a machete attack at a polling station in the Sanfil area in which a security officer reportedly lost a hand.

The current presidential term system was designed to promote stability and power-sharing in the coup-prone country. There have been more than 20 coups or coup attempts since the country declared independence from France in 1975. 

Advice

Individuals in Comoros are advised to keep abreast of the sociopolitical climate and avoid all protests and political rallies.

 

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