Djibouti’s lawmakers approved a constitution amendment allowing President Ismail Omar Guelleh to run for a third term. The 59 MPs spent over an hour reviewing the constitution and pruned down the presidential mandate from six to five years.
“The procedure is that the bill should be adopted at its first reading by the Assembly,” the speaker of the National Assembly, Idriss Arnaoud Ali, told AFP.
“Thereafter the president of the republic can either decide to hold a referendum to validate the constitutional amendment or he can ask members of parliament to examine the law a second time, in which case it must be passed by two thirds of them.
“It is the population who have repeatedly demonstrated in favour of this amendment and we received a mountain of petitions where the people wanted the president to be able to continue with the reforms he launched, notably the fight against poverty and the development of the energy sector,” Arnaoud said.
The amendment was passed by 59 MPs in the 63-seat parliament; four MPs were absent.
Guelleh’s followers gathered in the capital and supported the amendment.
“We received a mountain of petitions where the people wanted the president to be able to continue with the reforms he launched, notably the fight against poverty and the development of the energy sector,” Arnaoud said.
Djibouti, a former French colony, is a major strategic importance in the Horn of Africa and also hosts France’s largest military base in Africa and a major US base.
Foreign navies patrolling busy shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia also use Djibouti’s port.
Pic: President Ismail Guelleh of Djibouti