President of Djibouti

Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti (re-elected on Apr 9, 2021 with 97.4% of the vote and on Apr 8, 2018 with 87% of the vote)

Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of DjiboutiIsmaïl Omar Guelleh (born November 27, 1947 in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia) is the second president of Djibouti. He succeeded his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, in 1999.


In the late 1960s, Guelleh migrated to Djibouti before finishing high school. He later joined the police, becoming a junior non-commissioned officer. After Djibouti became independent, he became head of the secret police and chief of the cabinet in the government of Hassan Gouled Aptidon. He received training from the Somali National Security Service and then from the French Secret Service, and was intended to become his uncle’s successor. “The key to Guelleh’s success is the skillful way in which he has played the cards in his strong hand”, according to PINR. “As the head of Djibouti’s security agency under his uncle’s regime, Guelleh gained an intimate knowledge of the country’s political forces and has used it to practice a politics of divide and rule, supplemented by repression and intimidation when expedient.”

Elected president in April, 1999

Guelleh won the presidential election of April 1999 with 74% of the vote and took office on May 8.
In December 2000 he sacked the chief of staff of the National Police Force, Yacin Yabeh, who shortly afterward unsuccessfully attempted a coup.
He was the only candidate in the presidential election in Djibouti held on April 8, 2005. Without a challenger, he won 100% of the ballots cast and was sworn in for a second six-year term, which he said will be his last, on May 7.