Djibouti’s ruling party picks Guelleh as its presidential candidate


DJIBOUTI (HMC) – Djibouti’s ruling party Saturday appointed the current president Ismail Omar Guelleh as its candidate running for the upcoming presidential elections this year.

The long-serving president has recently announced he would stand again in the upcoming 2016 elections, ‘considering’ calls from his supporters urging him to lead the tiny horn of Africa nation for the fourth time.



At its annual assembly held in Djibouti on Friday, the party UMP voted for Mr. Guelleh to run for the election due in April amid political uncertainty in Djibouti following the arrests of dozens of opposition supports the former interior minister who’s a senior official with the opposition parties.

However, Adan Hashi, an opposition party’s North America representative said that they would pick their candidate once they find ‘proper’ electoral system in Djibouti, something he said the country lacks for the time being.

“You have to make sure having a reliable electoral system in place before you talk about elections – you remember what happened in the country during 2013’s elections that the government made vote rigging when the opposition secured most of voters’ votes.” He told Voice of America’s Somali service Saturday.

Mr. 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.

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.