Populist Muslim party surges in Comoros voting

Moroni (Comoros) (AFP) - Partial results Monday from the first round of parliamentary elections in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Comoros showed a surge in support for the populist Muslim party Juwa.

Early results from Sunday's ballot showed most of the candidates from ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi's party would make it into the run-off round next month, the Interior Ministry told AFP.

The vote is seen as a test for Sambi, who plans to seek reelection in 2016.

As president from 2006 to 2011 he tightened ties with Muslim countries.

Authorities began counting the votes late Sunday, by candlelight in some locations.

Bad roads in remote parts of the impoverished archipelago slowed the delivery of results.

Around a quarter of a million people were registered to participate in the election, with a second round scheduled for February 22 when voters will also elect local government councillors.