The African Union’s Observer Mission has concluded that the presidential election in Djibouti was free and credible but was also marred by breaches of the country’s electoral laws.
The AU’s report on the election, won by a landslide by the incumbent Ismail Omar Guelleh, comes in the wake of protest by the opposition over the outcome.
Activists complained that the poll took place in the face of political repression and curbs on basic freedoms.
Leader of the African Union Observer Mission, Soumana Sako confirmed that the AU mission “had reports from the delegates representing various candidates with the exception of delegates of two opposition candidates. The Mission has no evidence that the absence of these delegates was due to any malpractice.”
“The Mission approves the role of the delegates of the candidates crediting the whole process and also to make various stakeholders accept the results,” Sako added.
The opposition leaders have rejected the results of the election in which some 187,000 people – only around a quarter of the population – were eligible to cast ballots. They termed the whole electoral process a fraud.
Guelleh who has been in power since 1999, won a fourth term after he garnered almost 87 percent of ballots cast, according to the Interior ministry.
Opposition leaders in Djibouti say they plan to issue a joint communique in the next few days and demonstrate against the outcome of the poll.