© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti votes in presidential election at the Ras-Dika district voting center in Djibouti
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Jibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh won his fifth five-year term on Saturday after an election boycotted by most opposition, gaining more than 97% of the vote, official data from the Ministry of the Interior on Saturday showed.
Friday’s vote featured only one person to challenge the incumbent – relative newcomer Zakaria Ismail Farah. Data from the Ministry of the Interior showed that he was second with 2.48% out of 177,391 votes. About 5,447 votes were declared invalid.
The results “are far from reality”, says Farah.
“This was definitely the result of ballot box stuffing, which (which) happened without my delegates,” he told Reuters, adding that they were banned from accessing Polling point to track this process.
Alexis Mohamed, the president’s chief adviser, denied the allegations of fraud and said Farah abstained in his vote.
“The allegations of stuffing ballot boxes are completely false, the man who lifted them did not even vote and in doing so attacked our democracy,” Mohamed told Reuters by phone.
Farah told Reuters in a text message that he abstained because he had been a victim from the start of his campaign until election day.
The Horn of Africa country, with a population of less than 1 million, is relatively stable, especially compared to its neighbors Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
It has US, Chinese and French military bases and is located along one of the busiest trade routes in the world, the Gulf of Aden, making it a strategic post.
The leaders of Ethiopia and Somalia congratulate Guelleh on the victory.
One of Africa’s longest ruling rulers, Guelleh, 73, has been in power since 1999 when he was selected after by his uncle Hassan Gouled Aptidon, the country’s first president. independence from France in 1977.
He has won the two most recent elections, in 2016 and 2011, unequivocally. Some opposition parties also boycotted those votes.
In 2010, his government revised the constitution on presidential term limits allowing him to run more than twice, even though an age limit of 75 was introduced, meaning this is supposed to be a term. in the end.
Last year, security forces cracked down on rare anti-government street protests that erupted following the arrest of a former air force pilot who has denounced corruption and family-based discrimination. .
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