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Djibouti's President Guelleh's party wins big in election amid opposition boycott

Saturday February 25, 2023

President Ismail Omar Guelleh casts his ballot.

Djibouti (HOL) - The preliminary results of the parliamentary elections held in Djibouti on Friday showed that President Ismail Omar Guelleh's ruling party, the Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP), had secured an overwhelming victory. The election was held under controversial circumstances, as only two parties contested the 35 seats in the 65-member National Assembly.

The Minister of Internal Affairs of Djibouti, Saeed Nur Hassan, announced the election's preliminary results at midnight. The UMP and the Union for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party were the only two parties competing for the seats. Polls opened at 6:00 AM and ended at 7:00 PM local time.

According to the results, the UMP party received 85% of the votes, winning 28 out of the 35 contested seats, while the UDJ party won only seven seats. The UMP party also won all three contested seats in the Arta region. The election in other regions, including Ali Sabih, Dikhil, Ubukh, and Tojorra, went to the UMP as there was no competition from other parties.

The Djibouti capital has 143,660 registered residents, and 94,817 people voted in the election, while 3,100 votes were invalid. The elected members will serve in the Djibouti parliament for five years.

The parliamentary election was boycotted by the main opposition parties, including the Movement for Democratic Renewal and Development (MRD) and the Republican Alliance for Democracy (ARD), who branded the polls a sham, guaranteeing the UMP party a victory. The election followed the country's last presidential poll, held in April 2021, in which Guelleh was re-elected for a fifth term with 97% of the vote.

Guelleh, 75,  ruled Djibouti since 1999, when his uncle handed him power. Human rights observers have accused him of ruling with an iron fist. It is unclear if he will run for a sixth term due to an age limit of 75 set in the 2010 constitution. The Ministry of Interior will announce the official election results.


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