Azali Assoumani

Azali Assoumani (Arabic: غزالي عثماني‎, born January 1, 1959) was a president of the Comoros. He became leader of the country on 30 April 1999 after leading a coup to depose acting president Tadjidine Ben Said Massounde, who he saw as pandering to the independence movement on Anjouan. He won multi-party elections in 2002, prior to which he was constitutionally required to temporarily step down in order to run as a candidate.

Azali was born in 1959 at Mitsoudjé in south-western Grande Comore. Until he overthrew the civilian government in 1999, he pursued a military career for two decades. Between 1977 and 1980 he trained at the Royal Military Academy in Morocco and qualified as a parachutist. On his return to Comoros, he joined the FAC (then overseen by Bob Denard's European mercenaries. After the death of Abdullah and the departure of the mercenaries in 1989-1990, Major Azali became a senior officer in the new Comorian Defense Force (FCD). During this period the FCD was again (temporarily) defeated by Denard's mercenaries in 1995. In 1996 he undertook further training at a French military academy and was promoted to colonel and chief of staff of the new National Army of Development (NAD).

Constitutionally, the presidency is supposed to rotate every four years between the country's three islands, Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli. In 2005, a draft law was under consideration that would have changed this to allow Azali to run for a second term, but it was withdrawn.