Voters in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Comoros cast their ballots in an election for a new president Sunday from a crowded field of 25 candidates, with a struggling economy and poor infrastructure high on the agenda. Officials started counting the ballots after polling stations closed, using candlelight and camping lamps in a country that suffers from endemic electricity shortages that paralyse the economy, said an AFP journalist in Moroni. Polling in the country of less than one million people took place without any major incidents, although some were delayed by the late arrival of voting materials. Voting in areas affected by delays continued after the official closing time at 6:00 pm.
A total of 159,000 voters on Grande Comore island were eligible to vote in the first round of the election, in accordance with electoral rules that stipulate the president is chosen on a rotating basis from one of the archipelago’s three main islands. Among those running for president are a former coup leader and the vice president.
After the first round, the three top candidates will go into a nationwide run-off on April 10 that will decide the successor to President Ikililou Dhoinine.
Dhoinine comes from Moheli, the smallest of the three main islands. The other island in the trio is Anjouan. The system of rotating candidates among islands was established in 2001 in a bid to usher in stability after more than 20 coups or attempted coups, in the years following independence from France in 1975.
Full Article: Crowded field competes for Comoros president – Yahoo News.