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Politics of Djibouti

In 1981, Hassen Gouled Aptidon[?] was elected as President of Djibouti. He was re-elected, unopposed, to a second 6-year term in April 1987 and to a third 6-year term in May 1993 multiparty elections. The electorate approved the current constitution in September 1992. Many laws and decrees from before independence remain in effect.

In early 1992, the government decided to permit multiple party politics and agreed to the registration of four political parties. By the time of the national assembly elections in December 1992, only three had qualified. They are the Rassemblement Populaire Pour le Progres[?] (People's Rally for Progress[?]) (RPP) which was the only legal party from 1981 until 1992, the Parti du Renouveau Democratique[?] (The Party for Democratic Renewal[?]) (PRD), and the Parti National Democratique[?] (National Democratic Party[?]) (PND). Only the RPP and the PRD contested the national assembly elections, and the PND withdrew, claiming that there were too many unanswered questions on the conduct of the elections and too many opportunities for government fraud. The RPP won all 65 seats in the national assembly, with a turnout of less than 50% of the electorate.

In 1999, President Hassan Gouled Aptidon[?]ís chief of staff, head of security, and key advisor for over 20 years, Ismail Omar Guelleh[?] was elected to the Presidency as the RPP candidate. He received 74% of the vote, the other 26% going to opposition candidate Moussa Ahmed Idriss[?], of the Unified Djiboutian Opposition[?] (ODU). For the first time since independence, no group boycotted the election. Moussa Ahmed Idriss[?] and the ODU later challenged the results based on election "irregularities" and the assertion that "foreigners" had voted in various districts of the capital; however, international and locally based observers considered the election to be generally fair, and cited only minor technical difficulties. Ismail Omar Guelleh took the oath of office as the second President of the Republic of Djibouti on May 8, 1999, with the support of an alliance between the RPP and the government-recognized section of the Afar-led FRUD.

Currently, political power is shared by a Somali president and an Afar prime minister, with cabinet posts roughly divided. However, it is the Issas who presently dominate the government, civil service, and the ruling party, a situation that has bred resentment and political competition between the Somali Issas and the Afars.

In early November 1991, civil war erupted in Djibouti between the government and a predominantly Afar rebel group, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy[?] (FRUD). The FRUD signed a peace accord with the government in December 1994, ending the conflict. Two FRUD members were made cabinet members, and in the presidential elections of 1999 the FRUD campaigned in support of the RPP. In February 2000, another branch of FRUD signed a peace accord with the government.

On May 12, 2001, President Ismail Omar Guelleh[?] presided over the signing of what is termed the final peace accord officially ending the decade-long civil war between the government and the armed faction of the FRUD. The peace accord successfully completed the peace process begun on February 7, 2000 in Paris. Ahmed Dini Ahmed[?] represented the FRUD.

Djibouti has its own armed forces, including a small army, which has grown significantly since the start of the civil war. In recent years the armed force has downsized and with the peace accord with the FRUD in 2001, the armed forces are expected to continue its downsizing. The country's security also is supplemented by a special security arrangement with the Government of France. France maintains one of its largest military bases outside France in Djibouti. There are some 2,600 French troops, which includes a unit of the French Foreign Legion, stationed in Djibouti.

The right to own property is respected in Djibouti. The government has reorganized the labor unions. While there have been open elections of union leaders, the Government of Djibouti is working with the ILO to hold new elections.

Although women in Djibouti enjoy a higher public status than in many other Islamic countries, women's rights and family planning face difficult challenges, many stemming from poverty. Few women hold senior positions. Education of girls still lags behind boys and, because of the high unemployment rate, employment opportunities are better for male applicants.

Government Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Djibouti
conventional short form: Djibouti
former: French Territory of the Afars and Issas, French Somaliland

Data code: DJ

Government type: republic

Capital: Djibouti

Administrative divisions: 5 districts (cercles, singular - cercle); 'Ali Sabih, Dikhil, Djibouti, Obock, Tadjoura

Independence: 27 June 1977 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 27 June (1977)

Constitution: multiparty constitution approved by referendum 4 September 1992

Legal system: based on French civil law system, traditional practices, and Islamic law

Suffrage: NA years of age; universal adult

Executive branch:
chief of state: President GUELLEH Ismail Omar (since NA 1999);
head of government: Prime Minister BARKAT Gourad Hamadou (since 30 September 1978)
cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 9 April 1999 (next to be held NA 2005); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: GUELLEH Ismail Omar elected president; percent of vote - GUELLEH Ismail Omar 74.4%, IDRIS Moussa Ahmed 25.6%

Legislative branch: unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (65 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - RPP 65; note - RPP (the ruling party) dominated the election

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Political parties and leaders: Democratic National Party or PND [ADEN Robleh Awaleh]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Mohamed Jama ELABE]; People's Progress Assembly or RPP [Hassan GOULED Aptidon] - the governing party

Political pressure groups and leaders: Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy or FRUD and affiliates; Movement for Unity and Democracy or MUD

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of light blue (top) and light green with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bearing a red five-pointed star in the center

See also : Djibouti



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