World

In Djibouti, the outgoing president was re-elected with 98 percent of the vote

Presidential elections were held two days ago in Djibouti, a small country in the Horn of Africa. Partial results say it was He won a large majority Ismail Omar Guelleh, president since 1999, who won his fifth term with more than 98 percent of the vote. The main opposition parties boycotted the elections.

In his years as president, his generation succeeded in increasing Djibouti’s commercial and logistical importance, taking advantage of its special advantages. Geographical location And make the country more stable than those in the Horn of Africa. At the same time, according to its opponents and many observers, it favored the gradual erosion of freedom of the press and the suppression of political opponents.

Djibouti is located between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, and has a population of about one million. It overlooks the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which separates the Gulf of Aden from the Red Sea, and which lies on its other shore, Yemen. Until 1977 it was a French land: the person who led Djibouti towards independence to become its first president was Hassan Gouled Aptedon, the uncle of his generation: he ruled in turn for 22 years, until 1999, the year his grandson was elected president.

Compared to other countries in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is still seen as a relatively calm country, but according to some NGOs and opposition politicians, the situation has worsened in recent years. Human Rights Watch He noted that with his generation’s restrictions on both freedom of the press and freedom of association had increased, especially since the 2011 elections.

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Also read: China’s first permanent overseas military base, in Djibouti

Zakaria Ismail Farah, the main political contender and the only other presidential candidate, said he was persecuted and suffered unfair treatment during the election campaign: for example, he said that during his rallies he did not receive guarantees of security.

According to Interior Ministry data, his generation won 98 percent of the votes out of about 177,000 votes collected, a number Farah described as “unlikely, wrong and impossible.” In 2010, the country’s constitution was amended to remove the maximum number of presidential terms, but an age limit of 75 was introduced: now his generation is 73.

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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