Ismail Omar Guleh, the militant’s veteran ruler, was re-elected president with more than 98 percent of the vote, according to provisional results announced early Saturday, with the main opposition boycotting the strategically important country. .
As many as 215,000 citizens have registered to withdraw from the ballot, with the 733-year-old little-known businessman seen as the ultimate threat to the powerful man who has been in power since 1999.
Counting began shortly after polling stations closed on Friday in the African nation of Horn, ignoring one of the world’s busiest trade routes on the intersection between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
“President Ismail Omar Guleleh received 1,167,53 votes, or 97.56 percent,” Home Minister Min Min Ahmed Chik told RTD on Saturday morning.
Independent election observers say the process has proceeded smoothly without any reports of abuse.
Thank you for your faith, thank you for Djibouti!
Let’s continue together! pic.twitter.com/ak8zqSsMkC
– Ismail Omar Guleleh (IsmailOgueleh) April 10, 2021
In a social media post on Saturday morning, Guel wrote, “Thank you for your confidence, thank you for Djibouti! Together, let’s go!
Earlier, after a majority of Djibouti’s one million residents voted in the capital, Guelleh praised the trouble-free conduct of the election exercise.
Dressed in pale white traditional theatrical attire, she said she was “very, very confident” of victory after casting her vote in the transparent ballot box.
‘My vote is useless’
The country’s first president since independence from France in 19el7 was Gouleh Handpicked successor to his cousin Hassan Gouled Aptidon.
He faces only one challenger – political newcomer Zakaria Ismail Farah – after Djibouti’s main opposition parties boycotted the election.
According to provisional results, Farah, an importer of 5 Farah-year-old cleaning products, ended up with less than 5,000 votes.
Farah expressed doubts about the transparency of the voting process, saying his representatives were not present at the polling station.
“My vote is of no use, and the Djiboutians do not get 80 percent of the vote,” the opposition candidate told AFP in a text message.
Ahmed Tidian Saure, head of the African Union (AU) observation mission, said all candidates were reluctant to send their officials to any polling station.
Farah, who calls himself a “flag bearer of the poor Djibouti”, complained of misconduct during the election campaign, and was not even given security at his rally.
Guilleh and his extended family have controlled Djibouti with an iron fist since handing over power. In 2020 a rare wave of opposition protests was ruthlessly suppressed.
His prediction is that his fifth term will end under the 2010 constitutional reform that abolished the age limit of 5 years, which could keep him out of future elections.
Guel received at least 755 percent of the vote in every presidential election he contested.
Stable and strategic
Under Guleleh, the country has invested heavily in port and logistical infrastructure, exploiting its geographical advantage.
In 2018, in search of becoming a trade and logistics hub, the country launched its first phase of becoming the largest trade-area in Africa, funded by China.
Unlike Somalia and Yemen, Djibouti has remained stable in an unstable environment and has brought in foreign military powers, such as France, the United States and China, to establish a base there.
The country has also seen a crackdown on the erosion of press freedom and dissent due to the strengthening of foreign interests.
The country’s economy shrank 1 percent in 2020, but according to the International Monetary Fund, it is expected to grow by 1 percent this year.
According to the World Bank, Djibouti’s gross domestic product (GDP) is about 00 3,500 per capita, which is much higher than in sub-Saharan Africa, but about 20 percent of people live in extreme poverty and 226 percent are unemployed, according to the World Bank.