16/05/2021

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Mixed reactions as Djibouti President re-elected for fifth term

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Djibouti awoke to the news on Saturday their president would remain at the helm for another five years.

Provisional results showed Ismail Guelleh won over 98 percent of the vote.

He faced off with only one other rival after opponents boycotted the vote.

The 73-year-old has been in power for two decades. For some residents, he is a beacon of stability.

“We are all so happy, we vote 100% IOG, we support the president. We went early morning to the polling stations and we all agree,” retailer Halima Bourhan Ali told Africanews.

For others, his re-election means more problems in the country, where 20 percent of people live below the poverty line.

Mahamoud Youssouf Ali, taxi driver and the brother of Fouad Youssouf Ali, former lieutenant from the Djibouti army, today imprisoned (male, French, 20 sec):

“We can’t say he is a president, a president organises good elections, this was not an election. we are entering a period of five years of problems, more than ever, five years of problems, five years of unemployment, five years of fraud, five years where we will be put down,” said Mahamoud Youssouf Ali, a taxi driver and brother of Fouad Youssouf Ali, an imprisoned former lieutenant from the Djibouti army.

Guelleh, and his extended family, have controlled the county with an iron fist. The country has seen an erosion of press freedom and a crackdown on dissent.

But Djibouti has remained stable in a volatile area, neighbouring Somalia and opposite Yemen.

The country has taken advantage of its geographical position and has invested heavily in ports and logistics infrastructure.