Comoros: Information on the current situation of the UNDC political party
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 April 1997|
|Citation / Document Symbol||COM26673.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Comoros: Information on the current situation of the UNDC political party, 1 April 1997, COM26673.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab2956.html [accessed 24 May 2013]|
On 16 March 1996, Mohamed Taki Abdul Karim, of the National Union for Democracy in Comoros (UNDC), won the presidency in the second round of voting with 64.29 per cent of the votes (The Indian Ocean Newsletter 23 Mar. 1996; Radio France Internationale 17 Mar. 1996). The Indian Ocean Newsletter reported that the French government preferred Taki over his remaining contender, Abbas Djoussouf, of the Forum for National Recovery (FRN) (23 Mar. 1996; Radio France Internationale 17 Mar. 1996).
According to The Indian Ocean Newsletter of 6 April 1996, the UNDC party dominated the new government formed by President Mohamed Taki Abdul Karim on 27 March. The ministries of interior, the budget, and foreign affairs were assigned to UNDC members, as was the post of "principal secretary of the government" (ibid.). Moreover, the following positions in the president's office were also held by UNDC members: cabinet director, military chef de cabinet, and secretary of state for defence (The Indian Ocean Newsletter 6 Apr. 1996).
According to Radio France Internationale, on 5 and 6 October 1996 the Comoros president Taki's party, the UNDC, merged with "the parties which backed [President Taki] in the presidential elections in March" (8 Oct. 1996). The result of this merger was a new political party called the "National Rally For Development" (Rassemblement National pour le Developpement - RND). (Radio France Internationale 8 Oct. 1996). Radio France Internationale said that "The aim of this regrouping is to adapt to the new draft constitution, which proposes to limit the number of political parties to three" (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Oct. 1996, 12427; Radio France Internationale 8 Oct. 1996).
After the first ballot in national legislative elections on 1 Dec. 1996 which were boycotted by the opposition, it was reported that "only candidates who are more or less close to the government ... took part in the elections. Nineteen candidates of the National Rally for Development, the presidential party, ran unopposed and are therefore sure to win" (AFP 5 Dec. 1996). Voter turnout was expected to be about 20 percent (ibid.).
The Comoros government resigned on 11 December 1996, after the president's party won 39 out of 43 seats in the legislature in elections held on 1 and 8 December which were boycotted by the opposition (AFP 12 Dec. 1996; Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Dec. 1996, 13499). The remaining seats were won by a new Islamist party, the National Front for Justice, and an opposition dissident (AFP 12 Dec. 1996).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below a list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
AFP [Paris, in French]. 5 December 1996. "Five Opponents Freed; Election Results Awaited." (FBIS-AFR-96-234 3 Dec. 1996)
_____. 12 December 1996. "Government Resigns as Expected; President Departs For China." (FBIS-AFR-96-241 12 Dec. 1996)
Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social, and Cultural Series [Oxford]. 1-31 October 1996. Vol. 33, No. 10. "Comoro Islands: New Constitution Adopted."
_____. 1-31 December 1996. Vol. 33, No. 12. "Comoros: RND Electoral Success."
The Indian Ocean Newsletter. 23 March, 1996. "Chirac Congratulates." (NEXIS)
_____. 6 April, 1996. "Happy Families - and Parties." (NEXIS)
Radio France Internationale [Paris, in French]. 17 March, 1996. "Comoros: Mohamed Taki Abdoulkarim Wins Presidential Elections." (BBC Summary 17 Mar. 1996/NEXIS)
_____. 8 October, 1996. "President's Party Merges With Others to Form New Political Grouping." (BBC Summary 8 Oct. 1996/NEXIS)
Additional Sources Consulted
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996. 1997. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.
Indian Ocean Newsletter. 1996, 1997.
Keesing's Record of World Events. 1996, 1997.