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Djibouti gears up for Friday's presidential polls

Djibouti gears up for Friday's presidential polls

Djibouti

Close to 189,000 voters in Djibouti are expected to cast their ballots in the polls on Friday to elect a new president.

About half a dozen candidates are set to challenge the incumbent president Omar Guelleh who is seeking a fourth term in office.

455 polling stations will be operational and officials say the results will be announced on Friday night.

We want change. For close to 40 years we have not witnessed any change here.

Voters have different opinions about what the future holds for the country.

“We do not want change. We want the president of the Republic to continue. We are strongly behind him,” one voter said.

But others have described Omar Guelleh’s achievements as mediocre and hope his defeat will bring a sigh of relief to the country.

“We want change. For close to 40 years we have not witnessed any change here,” another voter said.

Djibouti’s constitution was amended in 2010 and the limitation of presidential mandates was removed.

Two opposition leaders considered as main candidates all claim to be representing the National Salvation Front.

The coalition created in 2010 failed to agree on a single candidate for the election.

Three other parties within the coalition have decided to boycott the election.

Opposition parties say the electoral commission is not independent and are decrying the restrictions on civil liberties and freedom of expression being implemented since the beginning of the week.

AFP

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