Veteran ruler Guelleh re-elected Djibouti chief for fifth time period

Djibouti’s veteran ruler Ismail Omar Guelleh was re-elected for a fifth time period as president with greater than 98 p.c of the vote, in line with provisional outcomes introduced early on Saturday, after the election within the tiny however strategically vital nation was boycotted by the principle opposition.

About 215,000 residents have been registered to vote within the poll pitting Guelleh, 73, in opposition to a little-known businessman extensively seen as posing scant risk to the strongman, who has been in energy since 1999.

Counting began shortly after polling stations closed on Friday within the Horn of Africa nation, which overlooks one of many world’s busiest commerce routes on the crossroads between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

“President Ismail Omar Guelleh obtained 167,535 votes, which is 98.58 p.c,” Inside Minister Moumin Ahmed Cheick instructed public broadcaster RTD early on Saturday, including that confirmed outcomes can be launched quickly by the Constitutional Council.

Unbiased election observers stated the method went easily, with no stories of misconduct.

In a social media submit early on Saturday, Guelleh wrote, “Thanks to your belief, thanks for Djibouti! Collectively, let’s proceed!”

Earlier, after voting within the capital the place most of Djibouti’s a million folks reside, Guelleh praised the trouble-free conduct of the electoral train.

Wearing immaculate white conventional robes, he stated he was “very, very assured” of victory, after inserting his vote in a clear poll field.

‘My vote is ineffective’

Guelleh was the handpicked successor to his relative Hassan Gouled Aptidon, the nation’s first president after independence from France in 1977.

He confronted only one challenger – political newcomer Zakaria Ismail Farah – after Djibouti’s major opposition events boycotted the election.

Farah, a 56-year-old cleansing merchandise importer, ended up with lower than 5,000 votes, in line with the provisional outcomes.

Farah forged doubt on the transparency of the voting course of, saying his delegates weren’t current at polling stations.

Unbiased election observers stated the method went easily, with no stories of misconduct [Tony Karumba/AFP]

“My vote is of no use, nor are the votes of 80 p.c of the Djiboutian folks,” the opposition candidate instructed AFP information company in a textual content message.

Ahmed Tidiane Souare, the top of an African Union (AU) observer mission, stated all candidates have been free to ship their officers to any polling station.

Farah, who had styled himself because the “flag bearer of poor Djiboutians”, had alleged unfair therapy throughout the election marketing campaign, together with that he was not supplied safety at his rallies.

Guelleh, and his prolonged household, have managed Djibouti with an iron fist since he was handed energy. A uncommon wave of opposition protests in 2020 was brutally suppressed.

His predicted fifth time period will probably be his final underneath a 2010 constitutional reform that scrapped time period limits whereas introducing an age restrict of 75, which might lock him out of future elections.

Guelleh has clinched at the very least 75 p.c of the vote in each presidential election he has contested.

Secure and strategic

Almost 215,000 residents have been registered to vote within the poll pitting Guelleh, 73, in opposition to a little-known businessman [Tony Karumba/AFP]

Below Guelleh, the nation has exploited its geographical benefit, investing closely in ports and logistics infrastructure.

In 2018, searching for to turn out to be a commerce and logistics hub, the nation launched the primary section of what’s going to be Africa’s largest free-trade zone, financed by China.

Flanked by Somalia and reverse Yemen, Djibouti has remained secure in a unstable neighbourhood, drawing overseas army powers comparable to former colonial ruler France, the US and China to ascertain bases there.

However the nation has additionally seen an erosion of press freedom and a crackdown on dissent because it has courted overseas curiosity.

The nation’s economic system shrank by 1 p.c in 2020, however is anticipated to develop 7 p.c this 12 months, in line with the Worldwide Financial Fund.

Djibouti’s gross home product (GDP) per capita is about $3,500, greater than a lot of sub-Saharan Africa, however about 20 p.c of the inhabitants lives in excessive poverty and 26 p.c are unemployed, in line with the World Financial institution.

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