ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
People in Djibouti have been lining up at polling stations since dawn on Friday to vote for their next president.
With main opposition parties boycotting the polls, incumbent President Ismail Omar Guelleh, who came to power in 1999 and has now ruled for 22 years, is projected to trump his only rival Zakaria Ismail Farah, a businessman and political newcomer.
A win will give Guelleh, 73, a fifth term as president of the tiny but strategically situated Horn of African country that straddles the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.
It will, however, likely be his last as the constitution sets the age limit for the president at 75.
With some 215,000 people in the country of over a million registered to cast their ballots, polling has proceeded smoothly so far and will continue until 7 p.m. (1600GMT), according to election authorities.
International observers, including from the Arab League, are in Djibouti to monitor the polling process in a country that hosts numerous naval bases of France, the US, China, and other states.