Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has congratulated Ismail Omar Guelleh after winning a fourth term as President of Djibouti.
“I am very pleased to congratulate my brother Ismail Omar on his re-election as President of Djibouti. The victory indicates the confidence of people of Djibouti in you,” said Mohamud.
Speaking on Saturday, Hassan Omar, Djibouti interior minister, said Omar Elmi Khaireh, the opposition coalition (USN) candidate, came second, with seven percent, or 9,400 of the 133,356 votes cast.
About 3,844 ballots were declared invalid.
Mohamud said Djibouti and its people has golden page in Somalia’s history and people of Somalia will never forget the support.
“I wish President Gueleh every success as he serves his nation for another term. He and Djibouti can count on our support, and our friendship, as well as that of their brothers and sisters in Somalia.” said Mohamud.
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.
Omar Elmi Kaireh, candidate for the main opposition party, Union for National Salvation (USN), Mohamed Daoud Chehem for the Djiboutian Party for Development, three independent candidates – Djama Abdourhaman Djama, Mohamed Moussa Ali and Hassan Idriss Ahmed – participated in the election.
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.