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Ismail Omar Guelleh

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh shake hands at the Presidential residence in Djibouti

Incumbent
Assumed office 
08 May 1999
Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou
Dileita Mohamed Dileita
Preceded by Hassan Gouled Aptidon

Born 27 November 1947 (1947-11-27) (age 62)
Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
Political party RPP
Spouse(s) Kadra Mahamoud Haid
Religion Sunni Islam

Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Somali: Ismaaciil Cumar Geelle. Arabic: اسماعيل عُمر جليه) (born November 27, 1947[1]) is the President of Djibouti. He succeeded his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, in 1999.

Contents

Background

Guelleh was born in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.[1][2] In the late 1960s, Guelleh migrated to Djibouti before finishing high school. He later joined the police, becoming a junior non-commissioned officer. After Djibouti became independent, he became head of the secret police and chief of the cabinet in the government of Hassan Gouled Aptidon. He received training from the Somali National Security Service and then from the French Secret Service, and was intended to become his uncle's successor. "The key to Guelleh's success is the skillful way in which he has played the cards in his strong hand", according to PINR. "As the head of Djibouti's security agency under his uncle's regime, Guelleh gained an intimate knowledge of the country's political forces and has used it to practice a politics of divide and rule, supplemented by repression and intimidation when expedient."[2]

Presidency

On February 4, 1999, President Gouled Aptidon announced that he would retire at the time of the next election, and an extraordinary congress of his party, the ruling People's Rally for Progress (RPP), chose Guelleh as its presidential candidate.[3] As the joint candidate of the RPP and moderate wing of the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD), Guelleh won the presidential election held on April 9, 1999 with 74.02% of the vote, defeating his only challenger, the independent candidate Moussa Ahmed Idriss.[4][5] He took office on May 8.[6] Moussa Ahmed Idriss was arrested the following September for "threatening the morale of the armed forces" and detained at an undisclosed location.[7]

In December 2000, Guelleh sacked the chief of staff of the National Police Force, Yacin Yabeh; policemen loyal to Yacin unsuccessfully rebelled following his dismissal.[8]

Guelleh was nominated by the RPP as its presidential candidate for a second time on October 7, 2004, at an Extraordinary Congress of the party. He was backed by several other parties[9] and was the only candidate in the presidential election held on April 8, 2005.[10] Without a challenger, he won 100% of the ballots cast and was sworn in for a second six-year term, which he said would be his last, on May 7.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Biography at Presidency website (French).
  2. ^ a b "Reality Check On Ismail Omar Guelleh", Somaliland Times, Issue 211, 4 February 2006.
  3. ^ "Djibouti: President Gouled Aptidon to retire in April after 22 years in power", AFP (nl.newsbank.com), February 4, 1999.
  4. ^ "Proclamation du Président de la République de Djibouti par le Conseil Constitutionnel.", Journal Officiel de la République de Djibouti (French).
  5. ^ Elections in Djibouti, African Elections Database.
  6. ^ "SUDAN: President holds weekend talks with Ethiopia", IRIN, May 11, 1999.
  7. ^ "Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, September - October 1999", UN-OCHA Archive (accessed 23 February 2009)
  8. ^ "Witnesses describe 'coup attempt'", IRIN, December 8, 2000.
  9. ^ "Le RPP plébiscite son candidat", La Nation, October 11, 2004 (French).
  10. ^ "No challengers for Guelleh as presidential campaign kicks off", IRIN, March 29, 2005.
  11. ^ "Guelleh sworn in for second presidential term", IRIN, May 9, 2005.
Political offices
Preceded by
Hassan Gouled Aptidon
President of Djibouti
1999–present
Incumbent
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Ismail Omar Guelleh

Incumbent
Assumed office 
08 May 1999
Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou
Dileita Mohamed Dileita
Preceded by Hassan Gouled Aptidon

Born 27 November 1947 (1947-11-27) (age 63)
Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
Political party RPP
Spouse(s) Kadra Mahamoud Haid
Religion Sunni Islam

Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Somali: Ismaaciil Cumar Geelle. Arabic: اسماعيل عُمر جليه) (born November 27, 1947[1]) is the President of Djibouti. He succeeded his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, in 1999.

Contents

Background

Guelleh was born in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.[1][2] In the late 1960s, Guelleh migrated to Djibouti before finishing high school. He later joined the police, becoming a junior non-commissioned officer. After Djibouti became independent, he became head of the secret police and chief of the cabinet in the government of Hassan Gouled Aptidon. He received training from the Somali National Security Service and then from the French Secret Service, and was intended to become his uncle's successor. "The key to Guelleh's success is the skillful way in which he has played the cards in his strong hand", according to PINR. "As the head of Djibouti's security agency under his uncle's regime, Guelleh gained an intimate knowledge of the country's political forces and has used it to practice a politics of divide and rule, supplemented by repression and intimidation when expedient."[2]

Presidency

On February 4, 1999, President Gouled Aptidon announced that he would retire at the time of the next election, and an extraordinary congress of his party, the ruling People's Rally for Progress (RPP), chose Guelleh as its presidential candidate.[3] As the joint candidate of the RPP and moderate wing of the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD), Guelleh won the presidential election held on April 9, 1999 with 74.02% of the vote, defeating his only challenger, the independent candidate Moussa Ahmed Idriss.[4][5] He took office on May 8.[6] Moussa Ahmed Idriss was arrested the following September for "threatening the morale of the armed forces" and detained at an undisclosed location.[7]

In December 2000, Guelleh sacked the chief of staff of the National Police Force, Yacin Yabeh; policemen loyal to Yacin unsuccessfully rebelled following his dismissal.[8]

Guelleh was nominated by the RPP as its presidential candidate for a second time on October 7, 2004, at an Extraordinary Congress of the party. He was backed by several other parties[9] and was the only candidate in the presidential election held on April 8, 2005.[10] Without a challenger, he won 100% of the ballots cast and was sworn in for a second six-year term, which he said would be his last, on May 7.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Biography at Presidency website (French).
  2. ^ a b "Reality Check On Ismail Omar Guelleh", Somaliland Times, Issue 211, 4 February 2006.
  3. ^ "Djibouti: President Gouled Aptidon to retire in April after 22 years in power", AFP (nl.newsbank.com), February 4, 1999.
  4. ^ "Proclamation du Président de la République de Djibouti par le Conseil Constitutionnel.", Journal Officiel de la République de Djibouti (French).
  5. ^ Elections in Djibouti, African Elections Database.
  6. ^ "SUDAN: President holds weekend talks with Ethiopia", IRIN, May 11, 1999.
  7. ^ "Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, September - October 1999", UN-OCHA Archive (accessed 23 February 2009)
  8. ^ "Witnesses describe 'coup attempt'", IRIN, December 8, 2000.
  9. ^ "Le RPP plébiscite son candidat", La Nation, October 11, 2004 (French).
  10. ^ "No challengers for Guelleh as presidential campaign kicks off", IRIN, March 29, 2005.
  11. ^ "Guelleh sworn in for second presidential term", IRIN, May 9, 2005.
Political offices
Preceded by
Hassan Gouled Aptidon
President of Djibouti
1999–present
Incumbent


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