Lawmakers in Djibouti approved an amendment to the constitution that paves the way for the president of the Horn of Africa nation to run for a third term.
Djibouti’s parliament voted unanimously on the constitutional reforms which remove term limits, cut the presidential mandate to five years from six, create a senate and abolish capital punishment.
President Ismail Omar Guelleh’s second term expires in 2011 and speculation has surrounded his plans for a third mandate.
Djibouti, a former French colony which separates Eritrea from Somalia, hosts France’s largest military base in Africa and a major US base. Its port is used by foreign navies patrolling busy shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia to fight piracy.
Dubai World has a deep-sea base at Djibouti port, which serves as the principle access point for goods entering and exiting land-locked Ethiopia.
Last month, Guelleh told Reuters China would be Djibouti’s biggest investor next year and in 2012 and that he planned to make Djibouti port the biggest hub in the region at a cost of nearly half a billon US dollars.