Africa

Comoros islanders elect Ikililou Dhoinine as president

Ruling party presidential candidate Ikililou Dhoinine in Moheli, one of the Comoros islands
Image caption A pharmacist by training, Ikililou Dhoinine will be the first Comoran president from Moheli

Presidential elections in the Comoros islands have been won by current Vice-President Ikililou Dhoinine, the electoral commission has announced.

Mr Dhoinine, from the island of Moheli, won with 61% of the vote.

But the opposition say Sunday's poll was marred by massive fraud.

The Comoros archipelago in the Indian Ocean has had a fractious history since independence from France in 1975, experiencing more than 20 coups or attempted coups.

Since 2001 the presidency of the archipelago, which lies 300km (186 miles) off Africa's east coast north of Madagascar, has rotated between the three islands.

Mr Dhoinine, a pharmacist by training, will be the first president from Moheli, where all the presidential candidates came from.

His main rival Mohamed Said Fazul, who took 33% of votes cast, alleges that ballot boxes were stuffed, voting papers stolen and opposition observers chased away from polling stations.

But the head of the national election monitoring group said the polls were "generally free and transparent and the process was acceptable on the whole", Reuters news agency reports.

Mr Dhoinine, 48, has served as outgoing President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi's deputy for the last four years.

"I have chosen him because he is the only one capable of continuing what I began. He's a patriot and an upright man who will not be tempted by corruption," AFP news agency quotes Mr Sambi, who is from the island of Anjouan, as saying.

Mr Sambi's election was the first peaceful change of power in the Comoros since independence.

The people of the Comoros are among the poorest in Africa and are heavily reliant on aid and remittances from the diaspora.

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