The archipelago of the Comoros in the Indian Ocean, composed of the islands of Mayotte, Anjouan, Moheli, and Grande Comore declared independence from France on 6 July 1975. Residents of Mayotte voted to remain in France, and France now has classified it as a department of France. Since independence, Comoros has endured political instability through realized and attempted coups. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI Assoumani seized power of the entire government in a bloodless coup; he initiated the 2000 Fomboni Accords, a power-sharing agreement in which the federal presidency rotates among the three islands, and each island maintains its local government. AZALI won the 2002 federal presidential election as president of the Union of the Comoros from Grande Comore Island, which held the first four-year term. AZALI stepped down in 2006 and President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed SAMBI was elected to office as president from Anjouan. In 2007, Mohamed BACAR effected Anjouan's de-facto secession from the Union of the Comoros, refusing to step down when Comoros' other islands held legitimate elections in July. The African Union (AU) initially attempted to resolve the political crisis by applying sanctions and a naval blockade to Anjouan, but in March 2008 the AU and Comoran soldiers seized the island. The island's inhabitants generally welcomed the move. In 2009, the Comorian population approved a constitutional referendum extending the term of the president from four years to five years. In May 2011, Ikililou DHOININE won the presidency in peaceful elections widely deemed to be free and fair. In closely contested elections in 2016, former President AZALI Assoumani won a second term, when the rotating presidency returned to Grande Comore. A new constitution was passed in July 2018, in a vote boycotted by the opposition, which allowed for two consecutive five-year presidential terms and abolished the island specific vice presidents. Under the new constitution, the incumbent president can run for a second term against candidates from the next island in line for the rotation. In August 2018, President AZALI formed a new government and subsequently ran and was elected president in March 2019.