The Comoros Islands vice president is appealing to the international community, including the European Union, to help finance the archipelago’s elections scheduled for 7th November this year.
Idi Nidhom said the government widely consulted with all political parties before unanimously agreeing to the election timetable.
“We came into an agreement with all political parties and the Island governors mainly to put together a government with three representatives with the Islands authorities, and here we are. We are going to have the elections in November, the first round, and then we will see,” he said.
This comes after President Mohamed Abdallah Sambi formed an interim government Monday aimed at organizing the upcoming vote on 7th November.
Political observers say tension is high since President Sambi was declared winner of last year’s referendum that extended his mandate for an additional 18 months.
But, Vice President Nidhom denies the alleged escalating tensions.
“There was no tension at all. A few people were shouting (and) that is not tension. You have two or three people shouting on the TV or on radio and that is not a big deal,” Nidhom said.
People in the Comoros Islands voted last year in what analysts said was a controversial referendum that extended President Sambi’s mandate. But, the opposition dismissed the vote saying the low turnout was an indictment of Mr. Sambi’s leadership.
Opposition groups have often accused President Sambi of clinging to power and weakening each island’s autonomy - - a charge supporters of the government deny.
The government defended the referendum saying the current system was too costly.
After months of negotiations backed by the African Union, political leaders agreed to hold the first round of the presidential vote on 7th November with the second round scheduled for 26th December.
Vice President Nidhom said the continental body played a pivotal role in resolving disagreements among the country’s political leaders.
“The African Union came to see us and said, ‘Look, we will like to see everyone accept the electoral process.’ And, we have accepted to shorten our mandate. Let’s put it that way, instead of one year, one year and more, let’s go for six months and hold elections in November 2010 instead of November 2011,” Nidhom said.
Meanwhile, residents on the island of Moheli are reportedly expecting one of their leaders to soon take over the presidency from President Sambi as stipulated in the Comoros Islands constitution.