Current President Ismail Omar Gelleh has won Djibouti’s election for the fifth time in a row. Ismail Omar Geleh received 98.58 percent of the vote, according to the provisional results, which means he is entering a fifth term. This means that he came out with a majority vote and had no influence over the contesting candidates.
It is theoretically Guelleh’s last term as an amendment to the 2010 constitution introduced the age limit of 75. Guelleh is the second president of Djibouti since independence from France in 1977. The 73-year-old ran against his only rival, businessman Zakaria Farah, who won less than 5,000 votes.
Critics of President Ismail Omar’s policies have described the Djibouti election “the winner is known in advance” as the current ruling party does not allow a strong candidate to run. Ismail has been described as the president who has pushed anyone out of the window when it comes to running for office.
The count began shortly after polls closed on Friday in the Horn of Africa country, which explores one of the world’s busiest trade routes at the crossroads between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
“President Ismail Omar Guelleh received 167,535 votes, or 98.58 percent,” Interior Minister Moumin Ahmed Cheick told RTD radio early Saturday morning, adding that the confirmed results would be released by the Constitutional Council soon. Independent election observers said the process went smoothly, with no reports of misconduct.
Guelleh will lead Djibouti for the fifth time in more than two decades, becoming one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. Djibouti, bordering Somalia to the south and the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to the east, is a small country in the Horn of Africa.
The strategic country has the largest US military base on the continent. China, Japan and France – Djibouti’s former colonial power – also have military bases in the country.