Polls Open In Djibouti As Veteran Ruler Guelleh Seeks Fifth Term

Voting began in Djibouti where Ismail Omar Guelleh is seeking an all but assured fifth term as president of the small but strategically located nation he has ruled for 22 years.

Some 215,000 citizens are registered to vote in the ballot pitting Guelleh, 73, against a little-known businessman widely seen to pose little threat to the strongman, who inherited power in 1999.

Polling stations opened across the arid Horn of Africa nation, which overlooks one of the world’s busiest trade routes at the crossroads between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

At a voting centre in the capital, election observers said the process was rolling out smoothly and all logistics were in place.

Djibouti’s main opposition parties boycotted the vote, leaving Zakaria Ismail Farah, a 56-year-old political newcomer and importer of cleaning products, as Guelleh’s only challenger.

Campaign posters were scarce in the capital, where most of Djibouti’s one million people reside, and where nearly 530 polling stations have opened their doors.

Guelleh, who has clinched at least 75%of the vote in every presidential election he has contested, held his final campaign rally , urging voters to turn out in large numbers.

Add Your Comment