Djibouti’s capital city is preparing on Sunday for the upcoming inauguration ceremony of the fourth elected president Ismael Omar Gueleh.
It’s by far the biggest event to be held in the country this year as over 20 heads of government, including a delegation from Somali government led by president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, will all witness the inauguration of the President of the Republic of Djibouti Guelleh who won forth term presidential elections held mid last month.
Gueleh will be sworn in today after he was re-elected for a fourth mandate following an election boycotted by some opposition parties.
At the presidential palace, which is the official venue for the swearing-in, flags of countries whose representatives are expected to attend, fluttered in the wind.
Souvenirs with images of Guelleh and flags of his party, People’s Rally for Progress, were already being sold in anticipation of the event.
Guelleh is the country’s second president since independence from France in 1977, having succeeded his uncle, Hassan Gouled, in 1999.
Guelleh’s strong hold on power is largely attributed to divisions within the opposition and to government repression of dissent.
Some opposition parties boycotted the election after Guelleh, who was always the clear front-runner, went back on his earlier decision not to run.
Opposition supporters dispute the vote, saying some voters were turned away from polling stations. Opposition leaders have complained of police brutality in the weeks leading up to the election, and say the media covers them unfairly.
There are around 187,900 registered voters in Djibouti, according to the National Independent Electoral Commission.
The Horn of Africa country has enjoyed relative stability since independence and hosts large French and U.S. military bases due to its strategically-important position.