In the January 14 presidential election, President Azali Assoumani of the Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros (CRC) won with 63 percent of the vote. Assoumani took power in a 1999 coup and was first elected president in 2002. He will now serve a fourth five-year term after a 2018 constitutional referendum removed presidential term limits. Runner-up Salim Issa Abdallah of the Juwa Party received 20.3 percent of the vote. Four other candidates split the remainder. Violent protests erupted after the results were announced over accusations of ballot stuffing and illegally closing polls early. Voter turnout was a dismal 16.3 percent.
Presidential and legislative elections were held on February 4. In the presidential contest, incumbent president Nayib Bukele of the New Ideas party won a second five-year term. With more than 70 percent of the votes counted, Bukele won with at least 83 percent of the vote, though exit polls predicted he could win up to 87 percent. While the constitution technically prohibits consecutive presidential terms, the constitutional court ruled in 2021 that Bukele could run again. Preliminary results also show Manuel Flores of the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in second and Joel Sánchez of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) in third. To learn more about the election, read Manuel Meléndez-Sánchez’s new essay “How the World’s Most Popular Dictator Wins.”
In the legislative contest, all 60 seats in the unicameral Legislative Assembly were at stake. The size of the assembly was reduced in June 2023 from its previous 84 seats. With vote tallying still underway, exit polls predicted that New Ideas would win 54 seats.
On February 3, President Macky Sall announced that he was indefinitely postponing the country’s presidential election scheduled for February 25. Sall, who confirmed last July that he would not pursue a third term after toying with the possibility for years, claimed that a dispute between the constitutional court and parliament over the eligibility of certain candidates threatened the credibility of the election and had to be resolved ahead of the vote to avoid a crisis. Protests broke out the following day, with authorities cracking down in response—cutting off mobile internet access, firing tear gas at demonstrators, and arresting several opposition leaders, including former prime minister Aminata Touré. On February 5, parliament began debating a bill on the election postponement and extending Sall’s tenure in the interim.
Voters chose all 16 members of Tuvalu’s unicameral Parliament on January 26. With no formal political parties, candidates run as independents, and two are elected in each of the country’s eight constituencies. Neither the incumbent prime minister, Kausea Natano, nor the sole female legislator, Puakena Boreham, retained their seats. Six of the winners are new to Parliament. Tuvalu’s diplomatic recognition of Taiwan as well as its controversial Falepili Union security treaty with Australia were major issues in this election. High turnout has been reported, but official percentages have not yet been released.