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Politics of Comoros

The Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros is ruled by Colonel Azali Assoumani[?]. The political situation in Comoros has been extremely fluid since the country's independence in 1975, subject to the volatility of coups and political insurrection. Colonel Azali seized power in a bloodless coup in April 1999, overthrowing Interim President Tadjiddine Ben Said Massounde[?], who himself had held the office since the death of democratically elected President Mohamed Taki Abdoulkarim[?] in November, 1998. In May 1999, Azali decreed a constitution that gave him both executive and legislative powers. Bowing somewhat to international criticism, Azali appointed a civilian Prime Minister, Bainrifi Tarmidi[?], in December 1999; however, Azali retained the mantle of Head of State and army Commander. In December 2000, Azali named a new civilian Prime Minister, Hamada Madi[?], and formed a new civilian Cabinet. When Azali took power he also pledged to step down in April 2000 and relinquish control to a democratically elected president, a pledge which he has yet to fulfill.

In a separate nod to pressure to restore civilian rule, the government organized several committees to compose a new constitution, including the August 2000 National Congress and November 2000 Tripartite Commission. The opposition parties initially refused to participate in the Tripartite Commission, but on February 17, representatives of the government, the Anjouan separatists, the political opposition, and civil society organizations signed a "Framework Accord for Reconciliation in Comoros," brokered by the Organization for African Unity (OAU). The accord called for the creation of a new Tripartite Commission for National Reconciliation[?] to develop a "New Comorian Entity" with a new constitution. Although the Commission set June as its goal for completing the constitution and December for the national elections, disagreements over procedure and goals delayed completion of the draft constitution. In August representatives from each island debated the first draft; however, the constitution has not yet been implemented.

Country name:
conventional long form: Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros
conventional short form: Comoros
local long form: Republique Federale Islamique des Comores
local short form: Comores

Data code: CN

Government type: independent republic

Capital: Moroni

Administrative divisions: three islands; Grande Comore (Njazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), and Moheli (Mwali)
note: there are also four municipalities named Domoni, Fomboni, Moroni, and Moutsamoudou

Independence: 6 July 1975 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 6 July (1975)

Constitution: 20 October 1996

Legal system: French and Muslim law in a new consolidated code

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President AZALI Assoumani (since 6 May 1999); note - the interim government of President Tajiddine Ben Said MASSOUNDE, which had assumed power on 6 November 1998 upon the death of President Mohamed TAKI Abdulkarim, was overthrown in a bloodless coup on 30 April 1999. See Presidents of Comoros.
head of government: Prime Minister Bianrifi TARMIDI (since 2 December 1999)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 6 and 16 March 1996 (next to be held NA); prime minister appointed by the president
note: President AZALI claimed a one-year term at the time of the coup; elections, in theory, should be held in the spring of 2000 but are likely to be dependent on the island of Anjouan remaining part of the federation
election results: results of the last presidential election before the coup were: Mohamed TAKI Abdulkarim elected president; percent of vote - 64.3%

Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of the Senate (15 seats: five from each island); members selected by regional councils for six-year terms) and a Federal Assembly or Assemblee Federale (43 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - the Federal Assembly was dissolved following the coup of 30 April 1999
elections: Federal Assembly - last held 1 and 8 December 1996 (next to be held NA)
election results: Federal Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RND 39, FNJ 3, independent 1
note: the constitution stipulates that only parties that win six seats in the Federal Assembly (two from each island) are permitted to be in opposition, but if no party accomplishes that, the second most successful party will be in opposition; in the elections of December 1996 the FNJ appeared to qualify as opposition

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supremes, two members appointed by the president, two members elected by the Federal Assembly, one by the Council of each island, and former presidents of the republic

Political parties and leaders: Front National pour la Justice or FNJ (Islamic party in opposition) [Ahmed Abdallah MOHAMED, Ahmed ABOUBACAR, Soidiki M'BAPANOZA]; Rassemblement National pour le Development or RND (party of the government) [Ali Bazi SELIM]

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, CCC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS (associate), ILO, IMF, InOC, Intelsat, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador-designate Ahmed DJABIR (ambassador to the US and Canada and permanent representative to the UN)
chancery: (temporary) care of the Permanent Mission of the Federal and Islamic Republic of the Comoros to the United Nations, 420 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022
telephone: [1] (212) 983-4712

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the ambassador to Mauritius is accredited to Comoros

Flag description: green with a white crescent in the center of the field, its points facing downward; there are four white five-pointed stars placed in a line between the points of the crescent; the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam; the four stars represent the four main islands of the archipelago - Mwali, Njazidja, Nzwani, and Mayotte (a territorial collectivity of France, but claimed by Comoros); the design, the most recent of several, is described in the constitution approved by referendum on 7 June 1992

See also : Comoros



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