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Djibouti Politics

Government and Politics of Djibouti

Following pressure from the IMF, the government reduced public spending in 1995 and introduced a number of measures to increase government revenue. The following year, the IMF issued a $ 6.7 million loan to Djibouti in support of the government's reform program. In March 1996, President Gouled fired two members of the government: Minister of Defense and Justice Ahmed Boulaleh Barreh, and the Prison Service and Religious Affairs Moumin Bahdon Farah. The departure of these two ministers was interpreted as Prime Minister Barkat Gourad Hamadou and Chief Minister Ismael Omar Guelleh attempting to strengthen their positions.

Farah, who announced the formation of a new political party in April, was arrested for a month, after charges of insulting Gouled. In August, Farah went on a hunger strike in protest of his arrest. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17 oppositionists were abducted on September 26 and then detained by Djibouti authorities. Among those detained were human rights defender Aicha Debalé, who, at the request of the French NGO "Mission Enfance", had set up headquarters in Ethiopia to provide assistance to the Djibouti children who stayed as refugees in Ethiopia.

The December parliamentary elections were characterized by the opposition as a "masquerade". RPP achieved 25 seats and FRUD 11. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of DJ and its meanings of Djibouti.

Thanks to strong pressure from organizations such as "Solidarity Women" and "The International Democratic Women's Association", Debalé was released in February 1998, while his wife, who had been abducted with him, had to remain in prison. Although Djibouti had signed the African Declaration of Human Rights, whose 9th article guarantees freedom of information and expression, editor Ahmed Abdi Farah and journalist Kamil Hassan Ali of the journal "Al Wahda" were arrested, accused, in an article published in February the previous years, having criticized the government.

In April 1999, for the first time since independence, the people had the opportunity to elect the president. The one chosen was Ismail Omar Guelleh by a large margin. He thus became the second president in the country's history. His election campaign was geared towards promises to reduce population poverty. His political rivals accused him of murdering opponents for 20 years while he was a key adviser and director of police special forces.


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