Djibouti votes in presidential election

2016-04-08 21:10
A woman enters a polling booth during the presidential elections in Djibouti. (Karim Lebhour, AFP)

A woman enters a polling booth during the presidential elections in Djibouti. (Karim Lebhour, AFP)

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Djibouti - Voters in Djibouti went to the polls on Friday, with iron-fisted ruler Ismail Omar Guelleh expected to extend his 17-year rule in the strategic African nation courted by world powers.

Voting was calm but slow through the morning and early afternoon after some opposition parties called a boycott, as they have done in previous elections.

Six candidates are vying for the presidency in the tiny Horn of Africa country, whose location at the gateway to the Red Sea has attracted powers such as the United States, France and China as a prime location for military bases.

Guelleh is the clear frontrunner, predicted to win a fourth election victory in the former French colony against a fractured opposition.

Results are expected as early as Friday evening from the election in which 187 000 people - around a fifth of the population - are eligible to vote.

Looking relaxed and smiling, the head of state cast his vote in the centre of Djibouti City accompanied by his wife.

"I'm very confident", he said. "I think the vote will go well."

Read more on:    ismail omar guelleh  |  djibouti  |  east africa

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