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DJIBOUTI – The outgoing president, Ismaël Omar Guelleh, reelected with 98.5% of the vote for a 5th mandate



The fifth mandate of the President of the Republic, Ismaël Omar Guelleh, is now signed. According to the provisional results of the electoral commission, the man who runs this country of the Horn of Africa mainly francophone and Arabic-speaking, for twenty-two years will run for a last mandate at the head of Djibouti. Widely re-elected with 98.58% of the vote, Ismaël Omar Guelleh, aged 73 years, had almost no opponent because his only dolphin, the businessman Zakaria Ismail Farah, did not even beat campaign.

“President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh obtained 167,535 votes, or 98.58% (…) These are the provisional results of the presidential election of April 9, 2021”, it is the announcement made at about 3:15 in the night of Friday 09 to Saturday 10 April 2021 by Moumin Ahmed Cheick, the Minister of the Interior, on public television RTD.

The newly elected president Ismaël Omar Guelleh has addressed to the thousands of Djiboutiennes and Djiboutiens who have according to “exercised their civic duty in serenity” and who have chosen to renew their confidence in him by voting majority for the continuity of his action.

However, despite the high turnout, 77% against 68% in 2016, the opponent, Zakaria Ismail Farah, could not exceed the 5,000 votes out of the 990,000 Djiboutian citizens called to the polls, or just 1.2% of the validly cast vote. The official and final results of this presidential election will be communicated by the Constitutional Council. Zakaria Ismail Farah, was outraged by the voting process and the notorious discrimination in the treatment of candidates. He was not able to benefit from police elements to ensure his safety and he had to cancel his campaign because, according to him, everything is in place for the president to keep his chair. “It doesn’t help my vote, nor the votes of 80% of the Djiboutian people.”, he regrets.

It should be noted that in 2016, during the previous presidential election, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh was elected with a majority of 87% of the vote, again in the first round. This new election, the last according to the Constitution, the constitutional revision carried out in 2010 now limits the age of presidential candidates to 75 years. He must now work to revive the economy of the country heavily affected by Covid-19. According to 2017 data from the World Bank, the population of Djibouti is 21.1% affected by poverty even if a growth of +7% is to be expected this year 2021.

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DJIBOUTI: Ismaël Omar Guelleh meets Emmanuel Macron in Paris



After having met the French employers and the Senate on Thursday, February 11, 2021, the head of State of Djibouti Ismaël Omar Guelleh will be received at the Elysée this Friday, February 11, 2021 by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. On the agenda of the talks, a fiscal agreement between the two countries, French investments in Djibouti, and the renewal of a defense agreement.

The defence agreement between Paris and Djibouti must be renewed before it expires.Djibouti offers a strategic support point to France, which intends to maintain its largest military base abroad. However, this East African state with a population of one million, as part of the renegotiation of the contract, would like to replace the French military base with a business district, which reduces the chances of a compromise. Indeed, Djibouti is located a short distance from the strategic strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, where a large part of the world trade between Asia and the West transits. It is obvious that France wants to maintain the presence of its 1,500 soldiers in this area where competition is fierce. 

Since 2002, the United States has had its only permanent base in Africa with 4,000 soldiers engaged in counter-terrorism operations against the Somali Shabaab and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Japan and Italy have also established themselves to contribute to the fight against piracy in the region. China ended up in Djibouti in 2017 and currently has a port and a military base to secure its huge economic interests (transport, industry, energy…) in the region.

The meeting between the two heads of state is also an opportunity to talk about investments. An agreement with the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (PACA) is about to be signed, as is a partnership with the electrician Engie. This time France did not hesitate as it was the case in March 2019, the date of the last meeting between Guelleh and Macron. The presence of China and its strong partnership with the Djibouti state explain these agreements quickly found between Paris and Djibouti. Indeed, China has largely financed infrastructure and even a rail line leading to Addis Ababa, replacing the former French train.

President Ismaël Omar Guelleh is candidate in the next presidential elections planned in the month of April 2021 to try to run for a fifth mandate. The opposition, which deems this candidacy unconstitutional, is ready to boycott the election and calls for foreign intervention to avoid chaos in this country with a strategic position. The spokesman for the presidential majority, Daoud Houmed, assures that this precise point will be discussed with French President Emmanuel Macron to ensure that the elections take place in the most absolute transparency. 

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