Voters in Djibouti are choosing a new president in a poll that could extend President Ismael Omar Guelleh’s tenure in office.
The 73-year-old leader, one of Africa’s longest serving leaders is tipped to win a fifth term and extend his 21-year-long rule in Friday’s votes.
He took over from his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who led the country to independence from France in 1977.
Guelleh’s only main challenger is Zakaria Ismail Farah, a relatively new politician.
In 2010 Djibouti’s constitution was revised, scrapping presidential term limits with only an age limit of 75 set.
Should Guelleh wins an expected fifth term that should be his final term in office.
Elections Day in #Djibouti. @IsmailOguelleh & #ZakariaIsmaelFarah are contesting the presidency. @_AfricanUnion #EOM is led by #AhmedTidjaneSouare former Prime Minister of #Guinea @AUC_PAPS @DeauDpa @AUC31 @jumuiya @igadsecretariat @Africanelection pic.twitter.com/hyhYPDK1Ye
— Guy Cyrille Tapoko (@GuyCyrille) April 9, 2021
Djibouti, a nation with less than one million people lies on one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, the Gulf of Aden.
The country recently invested heavily in its ports infrastructure, becoming the primary gateway to landlocked Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation.
It also holds and plays a strategic and important role in the Horn of Africa hosting U.S., Chinese, and French military bases.