Nineteen out of the 25 candidates who contested presidential elections in the Comoros Islands are demanding a recount of the ballots.
The 19 includes former Head of State, Colonel Azali Assoumani, who was third in last Sunday’s polls.
A spokesperson for the 19 aggrieved candidates told a news conference there will be no second round voting if their demands are not met.
“We want a recount of the votes. There will be no second round before the recount”, Ibrahima Hissani said.
Vice president Mohammed Ali Soilihi who won the first round of voting with 17.61 percent appears to be the target of the 19 other candidates.
Ibrahim Hissani told reporters that the Governor for the Island of Grande Comore, Mouigni Baraka, who came second in Sunday’s polls had also signed a petition demanding a recount of the ballots. This claim could however not be immediately verified.
“Only one candidate cannot be right… He received 17 percent of the votes and we sum up the remaining 83 percent,” Hissani insisted.
Vice President Mohammed Ali Soilihi will face Colonel Azali Assoumani and Grand Comore Governor, Mouigni Baraka in the presidential runoff scheduled for April 10.
Fahmi Said Ibrahim, considered a favourite ahead of the polls, came in fourth place and has alleged that his low vote count was due to fraud.
An African Union observer mission led by former Tunisian President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki noted that “apart from a few isolated incidents, the entire election took place in an orderly and peaceful manner”.
He has also urged “all political actors to keep (their) calm and to respect the results of this first round of the elections. “
The first round of voting last Sunday only took place in Grande Comore, in accordance with electoral rules that ensure the president is chosen on a rotating basis from one of the country’s three main islands.
Twenty-five candidates, all from the island of Grande Comore contested the polls.
The rotating presidency, created by the 2001 Constitution has stabilized the archipelago which has been rocked by separatist attacks and more than 20 coups or attempted coups in the years following the country’s independence from France in 1975.