The Comoran vice-president has denounced as “illegal” a planned July referendum on constitutional reform that could allow President Azali Assoumani to seek re-election. Assoumani only took office in 2016 but wants to hold a fresh vote next year, two years early, so that he can remain in power beyond 2021 when his currently non-renewable term would otherwise end. The referendum, scheduled for July 29, could change the current system — which sees power rotate every five years between the archipelago’s three main islands — and enable the president to run for two fresh five year-terms.
The nation was plunged into crisis in April when Assoumani suspended the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, sparking opposition protests.
One of his leading critics, ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, has been placed under house arrest, while another prominent opposition leader was jailed Monday following violent clashes between security forces and anti-government demonstrators.