Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh (R) speaks during his election campaign in Balbala, Djibouti. File/ AFP
The Horn of African country of Djibouti is going to the polls on Friday as President Ismail Omar Guelleh seeks a fifth term in the small but strategically important nation home to military bases for the United States, China and others.
The 73-year-old Guelleh faces just one challenger, the independent candidate Zakaria Ismail Farah, who halted campaigning early while asserting that he could not do so in safety. In protest, he appeared with his mouth taped shut.
Critics call the president a heavy-handed dictator, but others in Djibouti see him as a driving force in the country’s development and relative stability. The country is located on the Red Sea along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Guelleh has been in power since 1999 after the death of his predecessor, Hassan Guled Aptidon, the country’s first president. Djibouti won independence from France in 1977.
Guelleh told reporters days ago that he was no longer interested in power but was merely responding to the will of the people.
“it is my people, the Djiboutians, who asked me to run again and not leave them for the sake of the prosperity of the nation,” he said.
More than 205,000 people are registered to vote in Djibouti, which has a population of over 600,000. The country is a mix of ethnic Somali, Afar and Arab.
Firdous Awan said the prime minister has issued directives to the relevant ministries as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan to come up with a comprehensive programme for giving voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is on course for defeat at this weekend’s national election, a political poll showed on Friday, as campaigning ahead of the ballot was overshadowed by the death one of the country’s most beloved former leaders.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition is set to win a solid majority in an upper house election later this week, keeping alive his dream to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution, a survey showed on Monday.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and President of the University of Sharjah (UoS), praised the achievements made by the university throughout its pioneering career, which included great development in all scientific, academic, research, administrative and other fields, which brought it to high international ratings.
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