Ismaël Omar Guelleh was re-elected on Friday with 98.58% of the vote, according to preliminary official figures, as president of Djibouti, a small strategic country in the Horn of Africa that he has led with an iron fist for 22 years.
“IOG”, 73 years old, ran for a fifth and, theoretically, last term against Zakaria Ismail Farah, a 56-year-old businessman who had recently entered politics and whose chances of winning seemed small.
“President Ismaël Omar Guelleh receives 167,535 votes, or 98.58% (…) These are the preliminary results of the presidential election on April 9, 2021,” Moumin Ahmed Cheick announced at around 3:15 p.m. Minister of the Interior on public TV RTD. He added that Farah received less than 5,000 votes. The final results will soon be “given by the Constitutional Council”.
Earlier in the evening on Friday, Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed announced on Facebook that “turnout would exceed 77%”, compared to 68% in 2016. The approximately 215,000 registered voters (out of a total population of 990,000 people) were invited to go to a of the 529 polling stations in the country, mostly located in the capital Djibouti-City.
In 2016, during the previous presidential election, Guelleh was credited with approximately 87% of the vote, again in the first round.