Djibouti’s president wins fifth time period with 97% of the vote

Djibouti’s longtime President Ismail Omar Guelleh gained a fifth time period with 97 per cent of the vote in the important thing buying and selling hub within the Horn of Africa.

“Thanks on your confidence,” Guelleh tweeted on Saturday, earlier than official outcomes have been launched. “Let’s proceed collectively!”

In line with knowledge from the inside ministry, the incumbent gained 97.4 per cent of the greater than 177,000 votes forged.

Guelleh, one among Africa’s longest-serving leaders, defeated his rival, the businessman and political newcomer Zakaria Ismail Farah, who dismissed the outcomes as “far-fetched and incorrect — inconceivable”.

Farah mentioned different members of the opposition boycotted Friday’s vote, complaining of an absence of free and honest elections in a rustic wedged between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, the place some 20 per cent of its 1m individuals stay in poverty.

After opposition protests final 12 months, human rights teams mentioned clampdowns by the safety forces had change into widespread, though the nation continues to be considered as a relative haven within the unstable north-east fringe of Africa.

Previously French Somaliland, Djibouti is located on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a chokepoint separating the Gulf of Aden from the Purple Sea, the place the water narrows to some kilometres reverse Yemen. It hosts army bases from France, the US, Japan, and China. 

Because of its strategic place overlooking one of many world’s busiest delivery lanes for oil cargoes, it has change into a nexus of worldwide commerce. 

Guelleh has run the nation since 1999 after succeeding his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who led Djibouti’s independence from France in 1977. Guelleh is credited with establishing Djibouti as a base for each cargo shipments and international army, and has additionally arrange a sovereign wealth fund. But many raised eyebrows when in 2018 Djibouti seized a container port constructed by the Dubai-based DP World.

The structure was tweaked in 2010 to finish presidential time period limits, nevertheless it did set up an age cap of 75, which suggests this might be the final time period of the 73-year-old president.

Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, often called Farmaajo, congratulated Guelleh on Saturday. “It’s a victory that strengthens the event and stability of the area,” he mentioned.

Djibouti is the first gateway to landlocked Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, whose prime minister Abiy Ahmed, additionally congratulated “my brother” Guelleh.

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