GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
The Constitution of the Federal Islamic Republic of the
Comoros was approved by referendum on June 7, 1992. It
the constitution of 1978, as amended in 1982 and 1985.
general principles enumerated in the preamble are the
of Islam as the state religion and respect for human
set forth in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
citizens are declared equal before the law.
The president is elected by direct universal suffrage
five-year term and is limited to two terms. All persons
age of eighteen who possess full civil and political
vote. The president may be elected to no more than two
president is both head of state and head of government.
president nominates ministers to form the Council of
which had twelve members in the latter half of 1994. The
ministries, which are routinely reshuffled, merged,
and resurrected, consisted of the following at that time:
prime minister, who also served as minister of civil
Economy, Plan, Industry, and Handicrafts; Equipment,
Urbanization, and Housing; Finance and Budget; Foreign
and Cooperation; Information, Culture, Youth, Sports, and
and Telecommunication; Islamic Affairs and Justice;
Education and Technical and Professional Teaching; Public
Rural Development, Fisheries, and the Environment; Social
Affairs, Work, and Employment; and Transportation and
The president also nominates governors for each of the
islands for five-year terms. If the presidency becomes
the president of the Supreme Court serves as interim
until an election can be held.
The constitution provides for a bicameral legislature.
forty-two members of the "lower" house, the Federal
represent electoral wards for four-year terms. The Federal
Assembly meets for two forty-five-day sessions per year,
and October. The upper house, the Senate, has fifteen
five from each island, who are chosen by an Electoral
The post of prime minister is held by a member of the
holding a majority of seats in the Federal Assembly. The
of political parties may be regulated by federal law. In
more than twenty political parties were active. Areas
federal legislation include defense, communications, law,
international trade, federal taxation, economic planning,
As a federal republic, Comoros assigns autonomy to the
constituent islands in matters that, in accordance with
constitution, do not come within the purview of the
government. Each island has a council whose members are
to represent electoral wards for four-year terms.
council meets twice yearly, in March and December, for a
(see Political Dynamics
, this ch.).
The judiciary is considered independent of the
legislature. The Supreme Court examines constitutional
supervises presidential elections. The high court also
when the government is accused of malpractice. The Supreme
normally consists of at least seven members: two chosen by
president, two elected by the Federal Assembly, and three
by the respective island councils. Former presidents also
serve on the high court.
Data as of August 1994