[QODLink]
Africa
Djibouti votes in presidential poll
Incumbent leader Guelleh expected to win as the poll in the Horn of Africa country is boycotted by the opposition.
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2011 06:42
Incumbent leader Guelleh has promised not to seek a fourth term in office if he wins a third one in Friday's poll [AFP]

Djiboutians are heading to the polls, with President Ismael Omar Guelleh expected to secure a third term amid an opposition boycott.

Voters in the small Horn of Africa country have a choice of Guelleh or his lone challenger, former constitutional council head Mohamed Warsama Ragueh.

The main opposition Union for Democratic Change and Union of Democratic Movements are boycotting Friday's vote after they failed to find a joint candidate and because they dispute the independence of the election authority.

They have also criticised parliament's decision last year to change the constitution to enable 63-year-old Guelleh to run for a third term after being in power since 1999.

In February, Djibouti was rocked by its largest street protests since independence in 1977 when thousands of youths took to the streets demanding Guelleh, "the dictator", quit. The rallies led to clashes with the security forces that left two people dead according to official numbers.

The president promised on Thursday that he will not seek a fourth term in office if he wins another five-year term.

About 150,000 people are eligible to vote out of about 860,000 inhabitants. The country is largely desert and more than half of the population live in the capital.

The ex-French colony, situated on one of the world's busiest shipping routes where the Red Sea joins the Gulf of Aden, hosts the only US military base in Africa and the largest overseas French army base.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.