Ismail Omar Guelleh re-elected president of Djibouti with 98.58% of vote

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Ismail Omar Guelleh was re-elected for a fifth term as president of Djibouti with more than 98 percent of the vote, according to provisional results announced by Interior Minister Moumin Ahmed Cheick Friday night.

"President Ismail Omar Guelleh obtained 167,535 votes, which is 98.58 percent," he told public broadcaster RTD, adding that confirmed results would be released soon by the Constitutional Council.

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The 73-year-old Guelleh faced just one challenger, the independent candidate and businessman Zakaria Ismail Farah, who halted campaigning early while asserting that he could not do so in safety. In protest, he appeared with his mouth taped shut.

The other opposition boycotted the vote. There was a heavy police presence around the polls.

Guelleh has been in power since 1999 after the death of his predecessor, Hassan Guled Aptidon, the country’s first president. Djibouti won independence from France in 1977.

The president incoming term is widely expected to be his last as Djibouti’s constitution limits the presidency to those under the age of 75.

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