Djibouti: Voters head for polls

Djibouti – Djibouti went to the polls on Friday with President Ismael Omar Guelleh expected to secure a third term amid an opposition boycott, even after the biggest protests in more than 30 years.

Voters in the tiny but strategically placed Horn of Africa country will have a choice of Guelleh or his lone challenger, former Constitutional Council head Mohamed Warsama Ragueh.

The main opposition Union for Democratic Change and Union of Democratic Movements are boycotting after they failed to find a joint candidate and because they dispute the independence of the election authority.

They have also criticised parliament’s decision last year to change the constitution to enable 63-year-old Guelleh to run for a third term after being in power since 1999.

The ex-French colony, home to the only US military base in Africa, was rocked in February by its largest street protests since independence in 1977 when thousands of youths took to the streets demanding Guelleh, “the dictator”, quit.

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