President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti is set to extend his two-decade rule of the tiny Horn of Africa nation as the country heads to the polls Friday.
The 73 year old faces lone opposition from political newcomer Zakaria Ismail Farah after traditional opposition parties decided to boycott the election.
The 56 year old opposition leader is a businessman specialised in the importation of cleaning products.
He is seen by observers as unlikely to pose a significant challenge to the strongman who has been in power for 22 years.
Farah — who had to renounce his dual French citizenship to join the race — held a few small rallies before cancelling the rest in the 10 days leading up to the polls.
Djibouti is a largely desert country strategically situated on one of the world’s busiest trade routes and at the crossroads between Africa and the Arabian peninsula, a short distance from war-torn Yemen.
Under Guelleh, the country has exploited this geographical advantage, investing heavily in ports and logistics infrastructure.
At the same time the country has seen an erosion of press freedom and a crackdown on dissent.