Azali Assoumani has stepped down as president of Comoros to seek re-election in upcoming elections scheduled for March and April 2019.
In an interview with privately-owned news agency HZK-Presse, Mr Assoumani announced he was picking Energy Minister Moustadroine Abdou to act as president in his absence.
“I have chosen to have Moustadroine Abdou take over in my absence… [and] I know he has what it takes to maintain order among our ranks and is able to work with the others,” Mr Assoumani said.
According to the archipelago’s constitution, a president or governor seeking re-election must step down “as soon as” the Supreme Court publishes the definitive list of candidates to run in the coming election.
In July 2018, Mr Assoumani forced a referendum two years after his election that reversed a rotational presidency pact between Comoros’ three islands, resulting in early elections being called for 2019.
If he wins, he hopes to extend his stay in power beyond 2021 when his term of office is supposed to end.