Category Archives: Anjouan


SP in disputed areas and other territories (4) – Anjouan

Anjouan is one of the islands that make up the Comoros. The other two main ones are Moheli and the Grand Comoros (or Ngazidja). It might be remembered that the Comoros itself has a semi-presidential history. In 1979 it adopted its first semi-presidential constitution. This lasted until 1985. In 1992 another semi-presidential constitution was adopted and this one lasted until the coup in 1999. Since 2002, there has been a presidential constitution.

The Comoros has had a turbulent history. Since independence in 1975, there have been palace coups instigated and/or carried out by French mercenaries. There has been a general flip-flopping between democracy and autocracy. In the late 1990s the rivalry between the different islands was one of the causes of the coup in 1999. Anjouan was at the heart of this situation.

In 1997 Anjouan declared independence. This was never recognised by the international community. In 1998 Anjouan adopted a constitution. There were various coups on the island itself. There was also military intervention by the Comoros government. To stabilise the situation, the 2002 Comoros constitution tried to establish a federal relationship providing a degree of autonomy for each island. As a result, a new constitution was adopted for Anjouan in 2002. However, some elements in Anjouan continue to claim independence, though, as before, this is not recognised internationally.

The 1998 constitution was semi-presidential. The 2002 constitution is not. Both are available in French here. Both were adopted after referendums.

In 1998, the president was directly elected (Art. 9). There was a prime minister who was head of government (Art. 27). The government was collectively responsible to the Chamber of Deputies either on the basis of a motion of confidence or no-confidence. It stated explicitly that, if defeated, the government had to resign (Art. 56).

On the basis of the 2002 constitution, the president is directly elected (Art. 16). The government can ask for a motion of confidence. If it loses, it has to resign (Art. 44). However, in contrast to the 1998 document, there is no prime minister.

In fact, only identifies a prime minister until January 1999. So, it is not clear that the Anjouan constitution of 1998 was ever really applied, mainly, I assume, because of the refusal of the Comoros government to recognise the secession and the subsequent use of military force.

For the record, Anjouan held a presidential election on 15 June. The second round will be held on 29 June.

Finally, while Moheli and Grand Comoros also have constitutions since 2002, neither is semi-presidential.

Previous posts in this series:

Turkish Republic of North Cyprus
Palestinian National Authority