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Monday, 18 March, 2002, 17:58 GMT
Azali wins Comoros presidential primary

Reports from the largest of the Comoro Islands, Grande Comore, say the island's former military ruler, Colonel Azali Assoumani, has won a primary presidential poll.

Colonel Azali got 39.8% of the vote in a contest with nine other candidates.

His second closest rival was Mahamoud Mradabe with nearly 16% of the vote, followed by Said Ali Kemal with about 11%.

The three men will contest the national poll scheduled for next month.

Colonel Azali came to power in a military coup in 1999, but stepped down in January to contest Sunday's elections.

Under the Comoros' new constitution, the presidency will rotate around the three islands, with the first four-year term going to Grande Comore.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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