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Introduction: Comoros has endured more than 20 coups or attempted coups since gaining independence from France in 1975. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI seized power in a bloodless coup, and helped negotiate the 2000 Fomboni Accords power-sharing agreement in which the federal presidency rotates among the three islands, and each island maintains its own local government. AZALI won the 2002 presidential election, and each island in the archipelago elected its own president. AZALI stepped down in 2006 and President SAMBI was elected to office. In 2007, Mohamed BACAR effected...

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Government and Political Conditions: Since 2002, Comoros has been ruled by democratically elected leaders. It has a unique system under the 2001 constitution, wherein the office of the presidency rotates every 4 years among the three main islands. Thus, in the most recent elections, in December 2010, only those originating from the island of Moheli were eligible to run for the presidency. In 2014, the presidency will rotate to ...

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International Relations: Successive governments have lobbied for the return of Mayotte to Comoran control. But the Mahorais (people of Mayotte) remain firmly against such a move. In March 2009, 95% of the people on Mayotte voted in favour of it becoming an integral French Department in 2011. As a result, relations with France are at times frosty.

The islands' Islamic history and culture, and membership of the League of Arab States and OIC, underpin the existing close links with the Gulf (and Libya). China has maintained a resident Embassy in the Comoros ever since independence; in November 2005 China wrote off all Comoros’ US$5 million debt.

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Little is known of the first inhabitants of the archipelago, although a sixth-century settlement has been uncovered on Nzwani by archaeologists. Historians speculated that Indonesian immigrants used the islands as stepping stones on the way to Madagascar prior to A.D. 1000. Because Comoros lay at the juncture of African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab spheres of influence, the present population ...

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Area Handbook Series
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