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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Comoros president confirmed
Colonel Azali Assoumani
Assoumani: Former military ruler
Newly-appointed election officials in the Comoros islands have confirmed Azali Assoumani as the winner of last month's disputed presidential election.

"Colonel Azali Assoumani, who won the largest number of votes, is elected president of the Union of the Comoros," declared the chairman of the Ratification Commission, Bastoini Soulaimana, in front of the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organisations.

Colonel Azali, who first came to power in a coup in 1999, had earlier unilaterally declared himself the winner, despite claims by his rivals and independent observers that the vote lacked transparency.

The Comoros election commission, which oversaw the vote itself, was dissolved last month after it declared the poll void.

It was subsequently replaced by the Ratification Commission..

The Comoros islands, which lie between Madagascar and the coast of east Africa, are undergoing a constitutional revamp aimed at delivering reconcilation and devolution in the wake of the 1997 decision by one of the islands, Anjouan, to declare independence.

The elections were the first held under a new constitution, and a new name - the Union of Comoros - which gives each island greater powers.

Each of the three islands - Anjouan, Grande Comore and Moheli - elected their own president as well as voting in the union presidency poll.

The Ratification Commission also declared Mohamed Fazul as the winner of an election on the island of Moheli, which was also the subject of claims of irregularities.

The Comoros have seen more than 20 coups or attempted takeovers since independence from France in 1975.

See also:

19 Apr 02 | Africa
No results in Comoros poll
26 Dec 01 | Africa
Comoros votes for unity
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Comoros
22 Feb 02 | Africa
Timeline: Comoros
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