The long-serving president of Djibouti says he will stand again in the upcoming 2016 elections, by ‘answers’ calls from his supporters urging him to lead the tiny horn of Africa nation for the fourth time.
Ismael Omar Guelleh maintained a firm grip over power in Djibouti, as rights groups often accuse his government of silencing opposition politicians and journalists. Some of the opposition leaders were
chased to exile.
His announcement comes days after hundreds of pro-government supporters staged a rally in the capital this week, calling him to run for the country’s presidency.
“Considering the requests by my supporters, I hereby declare that I have decided to run for the upcoming 2016 Djibouti’s president elections.” He told reporters Thursday.
Elected as the President in 1999, Mr. Guelleh succeeded Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had ruled Djibouti since independence in 1977.
He was re-elected in 2005 and again in 2011; however, his re-elections were largely boycotted by the opposition amid complaints over widespread irregularities.
Elections have taken place in Djibouti in every six years since the country’s civil war ended in the 1990s.