aawsat.com 1 April 2016
The “Union for National Salvation” party, the opposition alliance in Djibouti, warned of a “popular uprising” on the eve of presidential elections in which President Ismail Omar Guelleh was nominated for a fourth term.
The representative of the union in Paris, Makki Hamid Gaba, in a letter to the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said that “the loss of trust of the citizens of Djibouti in the electoral process could lead to a popular uprising, and directly threatens the security and stability that the international community aspires to have in Djibouti.”
The opposition representative added that the government of Djibouti amended the constitution to allow the president to run for a fourth term, an amendment “formalised by force”. He stressed that the government “is responsible for the policy of systematic repression of political parties, civil society organisations and Djibouti citizens”.
He said that the Secretary General of the union, Abdulrahman Mohamad Guelleh, was “detained for more than three months accused of taking part in an act of sabotage”. As such “part of his family was arrested this week”.
Hamid Gaba called on the French foreign minister to “demand that the Djibouti government have a real political conversation with the Union for National Salvation on the eve of the presidential elections, which will be held on 8 April and which were originally rejected by a large number of Djiboutians and a large part of the Djibouti opposition.”
The French foreign ministry said in a statement that the foreign minister of Djibouti, Ali Mahmoud Ali Youssef, discussed the political situation in Djibouti in a meeting with his French counterpart on Tuesday.
The statement added that the foreign ministers “reviewed the political atmosphere with the approaching presidential elections and the importance of dialogue to diffuse the situation.”