Saturday, February 09, 2008

Djibouti's ruling coalition scoops pool

Djibouti's ruling coalition took all 65 seats in parliament
Djibouti's ruling coalition scoops pool
Djibouti opposition says official turnout figure ‘is a lie’ after boycotting parliamentary elections.
DJIBOUTI - Djibouti's ruling coalition took all 65 seats in parliamentary elections boycotted by the opposition, the interior minister said Saturday, adding that turnout exceeded 72 percent, the highest for 15 years.
The opposition labelled Friday's exercise a "charade" and said the announced turnout was far from the reality.
Interior Minister Yacin Elmi Bou said 103,463 people had voted for the Union for a Presidential Majority (UMP) and 6,536 had returned blank or spoiled ballots.
"The turnout was 72.16 percent, the highest for 15 years," he said, while admitting that the relatively low abstention rate was due to almost a quarter of voters disappearing from the electoral roll.
Opposition parties who had called on their voters to stay at home said many Djiboutians had not bothered to register this time because they were "fed up" with the regime of President Ismael Omar Guelleh.
"For us, what happened yesterday was not remotely like an election. It was a farce," Ismail Guedi Hared, head of the three-party opposition Union for a Democratic Alternative (UAD).
"People did not vote yesterday, the 70 percent turnout is a lie," he charged.
The UAD won 38 percent of the vote in the last parliamentary polls in 2003 but this did not translate into any seats under Djibouti's first-past-the-post electoral system.
Djibouti is a poor but strategically significant African country on the Red Sea, housing both French and US military bases.
Source: Middle East Online


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